The Apres Ski JukeBox

Posted By: Zeke Piestrup on August 5, 2009 1:02 pm

They are the top apres ski jukebox songs.  This is not a selfish jukebox, filled with esoteric songs that only a few can appreciate.  This jukebox is for the collective listening experience, for all to enjoy while recounting the exploits of the day with dear friends and strangers alike.  

This jukebox can be a dangerous jukebox.  An electrical shock is discharged when the absolute wrong song is selected.  That marginal song we’ve already heard 8,000,000+ times on the horrible FM radio. 

8-3-2-4, enter.  Zap!  Dead…  Musical Darwinism in action.

No fringe songs known to but a few, no new songs, and no No Doubt “Just a Girl”…  Zap!  Got it? 

Next page: Let’s navigate clear of  electro-shock and get listening!




Toots & the Maytals “Sweet and Dandy”

The Harder They Come, the soundtrack from the 1973 movie, is chapter 1,2, and 3  in the book of the best reggae ever.  You could simply ditch the jukebox and put on the entire album. We’re plucking Toots & the Maytals heart-warming song about a rural Jamaican wedding from the all-star list.  Probably no “Kola wine” served at your apres ski spot, but the harmonies of “Sweet and Dandy” are a nice mixer served with apres ski happiness.







The Clash “Police & Thieves”

Amazing to think that this song was almost dropped from the Clash’s 1977 debut album.  It’s a cover, dude, a reworking of a contemporary reggae hit by the king of falsetto, Junior Murvin.  This song was the foreshadower of the punk and reggae fusion that the Clash would develop to perfection on 1979′s London Calling.  Straight out of the 1970s, its subject matter of racial turmoil could have been the soundtrack for the 2009 Obama Beer Summit.







Motley Crue “Live Wire”

Before the countless imitators, before there was even a “hair metal” genre, and before Vince Neil got fat, looking the part of a stunt double for Ron Jeremy, Motley Crue straight ruled.  Yes, retrospective analysis is difficult in light of the insane (and inane) garbage that followed.  But, that will never diminish the incredibleness of early Motley Crue.  Tommy Lee’s double-kick drum 10 seconds into Live Wire makes me want to bash my forehead through a wall.






Michael Jackson “PYT (Pretty Young Thing)”

Sure we could cull from Off the Wall, but the Scantron answer to the jam of all Michael Jackson’s jams is track #8 from Thriller.  It’s also a unique example of over-production not being a negative.  Quincy Jones greases this song like pistons of a combustible engine, yet everything about this track is Goldilocks just right.  Pretty young things, repeat after me!…







Ice Cube “It Was a Good Day”

It’s the one time when white suburban kids could truly relate to their urban hip-hop heroes.  Neither needed to use their AK today because, yes, it was a good day.  Ice Cube’s career path is impossibly unique, from his work in the pioneering gangsta rap group N.W.A., to movie roles in the classics Boyz in the Hood and Friday.  Born O’Shea Jackson, Ice Cube somehow managed the  unheard of transition from “F*ck the Police” to family comedies on the big screen.  The man wins on so many fronts.  The diss song is a hip-hop staple, and no one ever dissed harder than Ice Cube’s diss of Easy E in “No Vaseline.”  That song still hurts.





Tom Petty “Free Fallin’”

Middle name Earl.  See, there’s at least one (minor) thing that’s not absolutely cool about Tom Petty.  Although, I should not be throwing middle-name stones.  Mine is Igor.  After Stravinsky, not the hunch-backed dude.  Tom Earl Petty hails from Gainesville, Florida.  And you thought only self-righteous quarterbacks came from Gainesville.  Hey Tim Tebow, did Bob Dylan ask you to join the Traveling Wilburys?  All hail Gainesville’s finest and one of the greatest songwriters of all time!






AC/DC “Sin City”

Calling all late night infomercial watchers incapacitated by TV hypnosis.  Have you too seen the Midnight Special DVD commercial offer?  In it, there’s a short clip of Bon Scott era AC/DC with Angus doing his trademark duckwalk.  Yet, the clip does not reveal which AC/DC track was performed.  As such, I’ve been tempted to order the “each week you’ll receive another DVD” just to get my hands on the mysterious AC/DC performance.  That could be financially dangerous, as it might be on DVD #42!  Well, thank you YouTube.  Behold the indomitable energy and greatness of AC/DC performing for an audience of dead people.






Sly & the Family Stone “Hot Fun in the Summertime”

Thematically, could there be a more inappropriate song for winter time?  But, this song is so utterly uplifting it brings the joy of summer to a wonderful winter.  So instead consider it a double-down seasonal blackjack!  And there’s at least a couple of tangential relationships.  First, the joyful cry of “out of school!” meshes perfectly with the not-business-but-pleasure ethos of a ski day.  Second, the first incarnation of this group was dubbed Sly & the Stoners.  Weed is to mountain towns as peanut butter is to…






The Bee Gees “Stayin’ Alive”

Chest out, John Travolta’s strut at the beginning of Saturday Night Fever appears prophecized, as if each step has landed exactly where it was pre-ordained.  It’s a confidence begat from simply feeling good.  That’s what this Bee Gees song does.  It makes you feel good, alive, confident.  The Brothers Gib are most closely associated with disco music, but Barry, Robin, and Maurice crossed genre lines from the moment the three began harmonizing in the 1960s.  Their early work conjures up comparisons to the Beatles and the Everly Brothers.  Yes, it’s time to expand your planetary opinions of the Bee Gees universal sound.





The Beach Boys “Sloop John B”

Even without the aid of hallucinogens, it is only two degrees of separation between E.T. and the Beach Boys.  With all mental clarity, here’s how.  “Sloop John B”, from the if-you-want-to-consider-youself-even-remotely-hip-you-better-own Pet Sounds, was first a traditional West Indies folk song.  The earliest known recording was based on “Histe Up the John B. Sail” by Pulitzer Prize poet Carl Sandburg.  Sandburg’s face, Ernest Hemmingway’s, and Albert Einstein’s formed the composite sketch for the face of the alien E.T.  From E.T. to Carl Sandburg to the Beach Boys.  I did that sober!






Run DMC “My Adidas”

It’s wholly appropriate that Run (the first word in Run DMC) is a reverend, as Run DMC lead a reformation of hip-hop.  The Hollis, Queens trio shepherded hip-hop from its early funk-based roots to a more aggressive hardcore sound.  They reformed not only hip-hop’s sound, but style.  Previously, MCs wore colorful, grandiose outfits, copping the style of contemporary rock stars.  Run DMC’s style was street.  They took to wearing Adidas shoes without the laces, because in jail, laces could be used to hang yourself.  As the lyric goes, “My Adidas only bring good news and they are not used as felon shoes.”





Blue Öyster Cult “Godzilla”

In the pantheon of Heavy Metal, there have been many important advancements.   The adaptation of down-the-back long hair, the anti-dance of headbanging, the devil horns hand salute, moshing — all have become part of the Heavy Metal ethic.  Probably the greatest advancement is the unnecessary use of the umlaut, the pair of dots above a vowel, used in countless metal bands’ names.  The genesis?  Blue Öyster Cult.  The result? Motörhead, Mötley Crüe, Queensrÿche, Beowülf…






Curtis Mayfield “Superfly”

“Super cool, super mean, feelin’ good for the man, superfly here I stand.”  And all the congregation said, “Amen!”  Curtis Mayfield’s 1972 album Super Fly is the classic of 1970s soul/funk.  The same disconnect between the Super Fly film and Mayfield’s lyrically harsher view of its characters mirrors that of your local den of inequity. Rather than heeding the critical commentary embedded in Mayfield’s true intention, when this song comes on the Juke, it adds to and enhances the party.







Journey “Don’t Stop Believing”

Your local cover band has had a difficult fight for legitimacy and respect.  Cover bands are largely background, a living jukebox, albeit with far worse haircuts.  But, now a few members of cover bands have crossed town, hitching a ride in the fast lane.  First it was Tim “Ripper” Owens, who went from singing for a Judas Priest cover band to singing for Judas Priest.  Now, thanks to the Internet, Arnel Pineda went from cover songs to covering for Steve Perry in Journey.  Videos of Pineda on YouTube singing his arse off (the man can sing!) found their way onto the laptop of Neal Schon, guitarist for Journey.  Pineda is now full time Journey member, benefits included!  From cover band to arenas, it’s no longer delusion, but a path of precedence and dream come true.




Van Morrison “Caravan”

Van the man.  The Last Waltz, Martin Scorsese’s concert film of The Band’s last performance on Thanksgiving day in 1976 is a must own.  Hell, I picked it up for 9 bucks in line at the Ralph’s.  The 10-hour concert featured performances from Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Neil Diamond, Ronnie Hawkins, Dr. John, Ringo Starr, Muddy Waters, Ronnie Wood, Paul Butterfield, and Van the man Morrison.  Straight-up rock royalty.  But, it was Van’s performance of “Caravan” that stole the show.






Dr. Dre & Snoop “Nuthin’ but a G Thang”


This is a song that I could hear a thousand times in a row, and be psyched to hear it the 1001st time.  1,2,3 and to the 4.  Snoop D-O-double-G’s iconic style of laying behind the beat is so wonderfully relaxed.  It’s like every time the beat comes, Snoop is fashionably late.  Dr. Dre’s 1992 album The Chronic was so massive and fantastic that mainstream hip-hop fell into its G-funk gangsta’ groove.  Seventeen years later, that groove has become a rut.  Hey, it’s supposed to be a form-of-art, not a form-u-la!








Def Leppard “Photograph


NHL fans can be an odd lot.  The Stanley Cup, the trophy placed in the care of the championship hockey team each year, is referred to as “the Holy Grail.”  As such, if per chance someone hands you the Stanley Cup, best to treat the inanimate hunk of metal with the utmost respect.  Or be prepared to feel the wrath of fans.  In 20 plus years of existence, Def Leppard has lost a lot.  They’ve lost a guitar player, Steve Clark.  They’ve lost an arm, drummer Rick Allen’s left one to be precise.  But it was singer Joe Elliot’s mishandling of the Stanley Cup at a live performance following a Detroit Red Wings game that nearly derailed their career.  His faux pas?  He simply placed the trophy upside down.  Like I said, an odd lot…






The Runaways “Cherry Bomb”

The first successful all-girl rock band.  And wow, what a line-up!   Joan Jett, Lita Ford, and the Bangles’ Micki Steele all spent time in the Runaways.  “Cherry Bomb”, the title-track from their 1976 debut album burrows into your head like a tic.  Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch cherry bomb!  Rock-and-roll music is intended to shake-up the status quo, rock the boat a bit.  In the 1970s, five teenage girls playing their own instruments, singing about sex, dressing like jailbait, well, you could see the discomfort and beads of sweat on the forehead of Conservative America while flying overhead.





Ramones “Beat on the Brat”

The first punk rock band, and if we knew Sum 41 would surface 25 years later, perhaps they should have been the last.  The lyrics of this song are so idiotic that they’re brilliant.  Almost in an Ed Wood sort of way.  In fact, the Ramone’s title belt for Greatest Lyrical Brilliance in a Song is challenged only by another gem on this same album, “Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue.”  That particular song caused an uproar in the press, and today many cities have laws against “huffing”, the practice of sniffing glue.  In Snohomish, Washington, enhaling glue will net grandma a $900 fine, not to mention the loss of irreplaceable brain cells.







Flogging Molly “Drunken Lullabies”

A seven-piece of pure Irish energy, by way of Los Angeles.  Dave King formed the band in 1997 after the dissolution of his Sunset Strip metal band Kathmandu.  From Sunset Strip cock-rock to the Celtic-punk stylings of Flogging Molly, it was a makeover of Marky Mark proportions.   Hey, and this track is in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4, still one of the all-time great games.







Michael Viner’s Incredible Bongo Band “Apache”

It’s been sampled, rapped over, remixed, and replayed ad infinitum.  But, there never was a Bongo Band.  It was simply Michael Viner, a musician, yes, but also an executive at MGM.  In his off-hours, Viner would rangle whatever musicians were hangin’ out to record with him in the MGM studios.  Ringo Starr even took a turn on a couple songs.  “Apache” completely bombed upon its release, but found life in later years when early hip-hop pioneer Grandmaster Flash sampled it.  Ditto for LL Cool J, Moby, and Nas.  Missy Elliot won an MTV award with it.  Acura sold cars to it.  You’ve heard the song, even if you think you’ve never heard it.




Zeke Piestrup ( More Posts)

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