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Captain Of The Tailgate: My Tailgating Playlist

Music is a truly underrated portion of the tailgating experience, in my opinion. Sure, everyone knows that tailgating involves lots of great food and much alcohol being consumed and things of that nature, but there should always be some form of music playing while you're cooking and eating and doing whatever else you want to do in preparation for cheering the Vikings on to another victory.

So, with that in mind, I've come up with a list of songs that are, in my opinion, great songs for the tailgating atmosphere. These songs haven't been chosen because the lyrics are particularly meaningful or anything like that, but they're the types of songs that can get the juices flowing and, possibly, give you enough adrenaline to cancel out the alcohol you might be consuming. That way, you can at least safely make it to the Metrodome. . .where you can proceed to consume more alcohol. I'm thinking of YOU, ladies and gentlemen.

I'll link the videos for all these songs, not put the videos directly on the page here or anything. . .with a dozen songs on the list, it would take forever to scroll through. Then, you can illegally download these songs from your favorite file-sharing source go down to the local record shop and buy these albums so that you can have the same ultimate tailgating mix that I do, should you so desire. We'll start with one of the more obvious ones.

Welcome To The Jungle, Guns 'n Roses

We shouldn't have to ask why this is here, should we? GnR was one of the best damn bands of the late 80s/early 90s, and would probably still have been going strong if Izzy Stradlin hadn't left one of his casserole dishes at Axl's house after a Super Bowl party or something. (I think that was the story behind their break-up, anyway. . .I could be wrong.) But of all the outstanding songs they did, this is the one that really put them on the map, and is a good way to get yourself going for any reason. An essential for any tailgater.

The Immigrant Song, Led Zeppelin

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! This one is pretty Viking-centric, but really, you can't argue with this one, either. The Vikings have used this or Welcome to the Jungle prior to kickoffs for a long time now, and it's easy to see why. And, hey, if the Vikings should happen to lose, you can also use this song to help yourself calm down by visualizing cute, adorable kittens with Viking helmets on. Or you can try, in any case.

More after the jump.

Flirtin' With Disaster, Molly Hatchet

I've always thought that Molly Hatchet got a bit of the short end when it comes to the great southern rock bands of their era. I mean, they're not Skynyrd or anything, but they still put together plenty of good music. The guitar portion of this song is outstanding. . .one of those riffs that will get stuck in your head for hours at a time if you allow it to. This is also a pretty good driving song, as I think most of these songs tend to me. Multi-tasking is important, folks.

Uprising, Muse

One of the more recent entries to the collection, Muse is quickly becoming a favorite of mine. I've always been a huge fan of bands like Dream Theater and other progressive rock outfits, and Muse is firmly planed in that category. This song's got a bit of an atypical sound, which is a big part of why I like it so much, I think. For you Muse fans, I probably could have put Knights of Cydonia on this list, too, but I'm trying to spread it out a little. . .one track per band.

Eruption/You've Really Got Me, Van Halen

Van Halen basically screams "arena rock," and for good reason. These guys are an essential for any tailgate, and there are many great ones to choose from. (Coincidentally, if you have somebody with a video set-up, Hot for Teacher is the obvious choice, but I'm going to assume that most of us don't.) These two songs don't technically go together, but a lot of radio stations flow them this way (sort of a "We Will Rock You/We Are The Champions" kind of thing), and this is the way they are on Van Halen's Greatest Hits album, so we'll put them together on this list, too.

And, remember kids. . .if it's not David Lee Roth, it simply is not Van Halen.

Master of Puppets, Metallica

It's sad that a lot of folks my age and younger immediately think of the Black Album when they think of Metallica. Don't get me wrong, the Black Album was great and everything, but it also turned the guys from Metallica into whiny, corporate jerks, so I prefer to take my Metallica from a slightly happier time. From the opening riff, this song pretty much rules it. Metallica has a lot to choose from, to be sure, but this is the one that does it for me.

Play That Funky Music, Wild Cherry

This song is near and dear to my heart, as it was the #1 song in America on the day I was born. (Yeah, I'm old. . .get the hell off my lawn.) Beyond that, however, it falls into a bit of a different category, one that I like to call the Detroit Rock City category. Yeah, this song has verses. . .and, you know, nobody really cares. Why? Because as soon as the horns hit and the song starts going into the chorus, you will inevitably, out of nowhere, have 30 people standing around and shouting "PLAY THAT FUNKY MUSIC WHITE BOYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY" at the top of their lungs. It's as inevitable as the playing of the Chicken Dance at Midwestern wedding receptions. Tailgating is also about togetherness, folks, and this song does that. And do NOT, by any means, accept the Vanilla Ice cover version as a substitute.

Fight For Your Right, Beastie Boys

Can't leave everyone's favorite punk/hip-hop hybrid off of the list. The Beastie Boys have been around for what seems like forever, and this is still quite possibly the best thing they've ever done. Strangely enough, the band members themselves don't care for the song, and haven't performed it live since 1987. But that still doesn't mean that it isn't great.

Walk, Pantera

As you can probably tell from most of this list, I tend to like songs that are fairly guitar-heavy. And, as far as tailgating songs go, they don't get a whole lot heavier than this. Those of you that are wrestling fans will remember this one as Rob Van Dam's entrance music from back in his ECW days, and the crowd participation that went with it was always amusing to watch. It even got worked into the soundtrack for Madden NFL '10, which I thought was pretty nice. The rhythm behind this one is pretty distinctive, and it's another one that's easy to get stuck in your head. It's also a great song to have on your music player of choice for working out, incidentally.

Highway To Hell, AC/DC

Speaking of bands that scream "arena rock," AC/DC is another one. This is another group that has a ton of songs that you could choose from, and you really couldn't go wrong with any of them. . .this one just happens to be my personal favorite.

Rock You Like A Hurricane, Scorpions

You know that Detroit Rock City category that I mentioned above? Yeah, Rock You Like a Hurricane has verses, too. Who knew?

We Are The Champions, Queen

Another one that falls under the obvious heading. The only advice that I've got for this one is to make sure you put it at the end of the CD or playlist. That way, if the Vikings should happen to lose. . .by some wild and crazy stretch of the imagination. . .you can just skip it and pretend it's not there.

How about you folks out there? What kind of music is a must for your tailgating party?

I'd ask Marisa Miller. . .but, it appears as though she's busy.