The pub is somebody else’s house

Part of the fun of going to the pub is giving up control and submitting to the taste of your host.

That’s why, as part of our increasingly elaborate pub-at-home rituals, we’ve taken to listening to Spotify playlists we didn’t put together ourselves.

We love our own playlists – they’re labours of love – but they’re also predictable, reliable… part of being at home.

But other people’s playlists are mad. The absolute state of some of them, honestly.

Why does everyone seem to love Roy Orbison so much? What’s with all the Oasis? How have we never even heard this Bon Jovi song before?

This is exactly what being in the pub is like, where you’re subject to the preferences of the publican, bar manager or bar staff.

Songs you’d never choose yourself, or don’t know, or don’t like all that much, form part of the background texture, along with the lampshades and naff nick-nacks.

This week, though, we worked out an even better trick: as more pubs use Spotify to supply their music, there are more playlists available from real pubs.

Here’s the daytime playlist for The King’s Arms, Borough, for example:

You can find these by searching common pub names or even the name of your local.

When we Tweeted about this, a few publicans and bar managers told us where to find their playlists, too.

But we reckon there’s another step yet: simulating the sheer crowd-sourced chaos of a pub jukebox.

With that in mind, here’s a quid.

A pound coin.
SOURCE: Steve Smith on Unsplash.

You can all choose five songs – comment below!

We’ll put them all on a playlist and, next time we’re pretending to be in the pub, play it on shuffle – raising a glass to you, or maybe rolling our eyes, asking, Christ, who put this on?

Updated 22 June 2020

Thanks for your suggestions, everyone. Here’s the playlist!

26 replies on “The pub is somebody else’s house”

Oh, depending on how fast other people are typing, may be the first up to put my quid in.

1. Black Betty – Ram Jam
2. Song 2 – Blur
3. Shoot to Thrill – AC/DC
4. The Sun Always Shines on TV – Aha
5. Lady – Kenny Rogers – a friend of mine grew up with parents that owned a pub in Canada, and every day a regular would come in, buy a pint and use the change to select 3 songs on the jukebox. Those 3 songs were Lady, by Kenny Rogers, three times in a row. In honour of that gent (but only once).

1. Escape is at Hand for the Travelling Man – The Tragically Hip
2. Barrett’s Privateers – Stan Rogers
3. All Uncovered – The Watchmen
4. My Old Self – Wide Mouth Mason
5. Eat My Brain – Odds

I figured I’d add some Canadian tunes to the list. Since the playlist is to be shuffled, they are in no particular order (though if I was curating, #1 & #3 would go well back to back).

They are all songs “Hey, good tune” type songs, except Privateers, which is our obligatory Nova Scotia foot-stomper.

1-There Is A Light That Never Goes Out by The Smiths
2-Hotel Illness by The Black Crowes
3-Brown Sugar by The Rolling Stones
4-Legs- ZZ Top
5-Kashmir-Led Zeppelin

David Bowie – V-2 Schneider
The Knack – My Sharona
Buzzcocks – Everybody’s happy nowadays
Deep Purple – Smoke on the Water
Dolly Parton – Jolene

Sounds of the Suburbs, the members

I’m Shakin’ Little Willie John

Beasley Street John Cooper Clark

Where’s me jumper – Sultans of Ping FM

So what – anti nowhere league
Party Time – The Mattoid

The Archies – Sugar, Sugar
Norman Greenbaum – Spirit in the Sky
Men Without Hats – The Safety Dance
Baltimora – Tarzan Boy
Aqua – Doctor Jones

1.Heart Explodes by The Darkness
2.Just Dropped In (To See What Condition was in) by Kenny Rodgers and the first edition.
3.Cattle and Cane by The Go-Betweens
4.Cortez the Killer by Neil Young and Crazy Horse
5.Bulerias De La Perla by Camarón de la Isla

Looking forward to listening to the mix!

Ice Hockey Hair – Super Furry Animals
Left To My Own Devices (Trevor Horn remix) – the Pet Shop Boys
Astral Weeks – Van Morrison
You Can’t Always Get What You Want – the Rolling Stones
Rikki, Don’t Lose That Number – Steely Dan

(All tracks I have actually put on pub jukeboxes, incidentally. (I did put “Autobahn” – the 20-minute version – on a jukebox once, but that was pushing it a bit.) Happy memories of listening to ##3 and 4 on a quiet afternoon in the Crescent in Salford.)

Spotify is a great invention. This is mine
1. Aptaxi – Plod
2. Eyen – Plaid
3. Utuba – Beaumont Hannant
4. 8-Ball – Underworld
5. Remember – Groove Armada

1. Tenpole Tudor – Swords of a Thousand Men
2. Breeders – Cannonball
3. Pixies – Where Is My Mind
4. Wreckless Eric – Whole Wide World
5. The Pogues – Dirty Old Town

1. Black Sabbath – Paranoid
2. The Psychedelic Furs – Pretty In Pink
3. Depeche Mode – Just Can’t Get Enough
4. The Rolling Stones – You Can’t Always Get What You Want
5. The Wombles – Wombling Merry Christmas

Just to be annoying, one of these songs contains a reference to something in 20th Century Pub.

Some relative obscurities for you: two B-sides from huge hit singles, two 1970s hits that probably don’t get heard much these days, and Graham Parker’s backing band covering a Duke Ellington number.

1. Wilhemina – Tunderclap Newman (B-side of Something in the Air)
2. Berkeley Mews – The Kinks (B-side of Lola on original release)
3. No Matter What – Badfinger
4. Govinda – Radha Krishna Temple (produced by George Harrison)
5. Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me – The Rumour


1. Cherry Wine. Nas & Amy Winehouse
2. Money folder. Madvillian.
3. Rooftops. Bishop Nehru
4. Running. Max Graff & Wayne Snow
5. People make the world go round
The chosen few.

Ill add, for what its worth, in previous pub chats. The only thing you can play in english boozers without offending anyone seems to be the Kinks.


When you have built the Spotify playlist, please share it, so we can play along at home!

My first one has a proper pub story… when I was in the 6th Form in the early 80’s, we used to sometimes head to the local pub at lunchtime opening (The Gade & Goose, Hemel Hempstead, for those who care), instead of A-level maths, or whatever. Whoever wasn’t getting the round in, would be tasked with putting Free Bird on the jukebox, which would be the 1st song of the day, with the jukebox volume still turned right up, so it could have been heard over the last-orders hubbub of the night before. We would then sit with delight as the 5-minute guitar solo lets rip, causing the two or three old-men who would always be in there to mutter with disgust! (Even though I am now in the latter camp, the thought of it still amuses me!)

1. Free Bird – Lynyrd Skynyrd
2. Breakout – Swing Out Sister
3. Make Me Smile – Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel
4. Telegraph Road – Dire Straits
5. Little Talks – Of Monsters and Men

Memories from my most frequent visits in England and Scotland, circa 2000-2005:

1. Robbie Williams “Angels”
2. The Charlatans “Wierdo”
3. Luther Vandross “A House is not a Home”
4. Slade “Get Down and Get with it”
5. Baddiel, Skinner & Lightning Seeds “Three Lions”

All real choices from a range of juke boxes I’ve accessed over 30 years of pubbing…
Wandering star – Lee Marvin (@Bradleys in London)
Please release me – Engelbert Humperdink (@ a dive bar on Mansfield road in Nottingham)
Prime mover – Zodiac Mindwarp and the Love Reaction (@the Hobgoblin in Bath)
If the kids are united – Sham 69 (@Big Hands in Manchester)
Jesus built my hot rod – Ministry (@The Salisbury in Manchester)

Only 5??

This makes me feel like Rob and co in Championship Vinyl….how many times will I change the list?

A Girl Called Jade – VUKOVI
Ruby Over Diamond – Kashmir
Today – The Smashing Pumpkins
Arabic Tremolo Radio – The Violet Burning
1979 – Darlingside

Jimi Hendrix — Crosstown Traffic
Caravan — Golf Girl
Chumbawamba — The Diggers’ Song
Cake — The Distance
Fiona Apple — Anything We Want

(There’s… not quite a theme to this, but there is a pattern.)

I’m gonna be all over the map here but…
1. Frank Sinatra “Fly Me to the Moon”
2. Johnny Cash “I Walk the Line”
3. Stevie Wonder “A Place in the Sun”
4. Radiohead “High and Dry”
5. Ed Sheeran “Castle on the Hill”

All of these songs I’ve heard in one place or another while having a brew and they were always a great mood setter

Ah the pub jukebox… What a wonderful thing. The £s I loaded in during my misspent youth..and mostly on these.

Stone Roses – She Bangs the Drums
Oasis -Live Forever
The Jam – Town Called Malice
Smiths – This Charming Man
Blur – Girls & Boys

Bob Dylan – Goodbye Jimmy Reed
The Stooges – TV Eye
The Incredible String Band – The Minotaur’s Song
The Fall – Blindness
Can – Moonshake

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