Drinking songs have been around since the discovery of alcohol. Since the beginning, people have been getting together to share drinks and then sing songs together in celebration. Othen these songs are old folk songs, but it depends on the people and the country.
The game of rugby has also long been associated with enjoying a few beers, for both spectators and players. Some songs have found their place as good rugby drinking songs by promoting that fun atmosphere.
To get you ready for your next big game day, I have put together this list of the 10 best rugby drinking songs!
1. Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
Album: The England Supporters 2015 Rugby World Cup Album
“Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” is in my opinion the best rugby drinking song. It is a song that has been recorded by many famous musicians including Eric Clapton and UB40.
Originally the track is a well-known Christian hymn, it was also written as an African American spiritual song. It was first composed by Wallace Willis sometime around the mid-1860s.
The first time it made an appearance on the rugby scene was when it was sung at Twickenham in 1987. Today it is heard around the world, but mostly in England.
Album: The Drakensberg Boys’ Choir: The Very Best of the Drakensberg Boys
“Shosholoza” is a song that has been used far and wide for a variety of different things including films, musicals, and rugby. The first time it was recorded was before the 1995 Rugby World Cup.
Since then it has become one of the most iconic rugby support songs in the world. Mostly you will find “Shosholoza” sung in the stadiums and bars of South African matches.
Originally the song is a traditional miners’ song that was sung by Zimbabwe mine workers who had to leave their homes to travel to South Africa by train to work in the gold mines.
3. Waltzing Matilda
Album: Waltzing Matilda
Another internationally known rugby song is “Waltzing Matilda” which can mostly be heard singing by Australian supporters.
The song is actually a form of folk poetry called a bush ballad and it is one of the most patriotic songs for Australians. Some even call it the unofficial national anthem.
4. Yogi Bear
Album: Yogi Bear Cartoon Soundtrack
The Yogi Bear song is a very popular rugby drinking song that is sung in rugby clubs and bars around the world.
“Yogi Bear” comes from the original Yogi Bear cartoon that was first released in 1961 and has been remade multiple times since then. The song has been changed with different lyrics, but it follows the same melody as the original which makes it really fun and funny. The new lyrics are quite rude and vulgar, as can be expected with pub drinking.
5. The Fields of Athenry
Album: The Fields of Athenry
“The Fields of Athenry” is an Irish folk ballad that was released in 1979. The ballad sums up the difficulties and struggles of the Irish so when a sense of comradery needs to be evoked, nothing works as well as “The Fields of Athenry”. For that same reason, it is also a great drinking song.
6. Jesus Can’t Play Rugby
Album: Jesus Can’t Play Rugby
“Jesus Can’t Play Rugby” is another song that is commonly sung around the world as a popular rugby drinking song. It is one of the rude songs, especially for those of the Christian religion.
7. Saturday’s a Rugby Day
Album: Demo Album
“Saturday’s a Rugby Day” is also known as the rugby days of the week song. There are various versions of this song, with the recorded version being one of the “cleaner” versions. Some of the versions that are sung in locker rooms and pubs are a bit more rough and dirty.
The song is really fun, and as with most rugby songs, it is a chant that calls for people to sing along.
8. S&M Man
Album: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory Soundtrack
“S&M Man” is a very popular song that is sung by rugby players as well as supporters while they are drinking or celebrating. The song is also popular among fighter pilots and marines. It evokes that sense of passion and comradery.
The song comes from the hit song “The Candy Man” which was originally written by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley for the film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.
“S&M Man” first appeared in a 1990 book called “The Official Rugby Book (and Other Strange Stuff)”. After that, it started gaining popularity and appeared in many rugby songbooks.
9. You’ll Never Beat the Irish
Album: You’ll Never Beat the Irish
Although low on the list, “You’ll Never Beat the Irish” is one of the absolute best rugby drinking songs. It is an Irish folk song that has been around for years. Hearing this in Ireland is quite a special thing.
The Irish have always been some of the most passionate drinkers in the world, so if you are looking for some of the best drinking songs, look towards the Irish.
10. Barnacle Bill the Sailor
“Barnacle Bill the Sailor” is an American drinking song that has been adapted from the popular “Bollocky Bill the Sailor”. The traditional folk songs just make for the best rugby drinking songs.
Justin is an audio engineer with years of experience in the field. He has been creating and playing music his entire life, but he really found his passion for engineering when he was introduced to Logic Pro at age 10. Justin has spent countless hours perfecting his craft and now works as a freelance engineer out of Boston, MA.