Most Popular Songs At Oktoberfest:
A huge part of Oktoberfest’s festive vibe are the upbeat songs to sing along with or dance to. Knowing the top 10 most popular Oktoberfest songs and best music ahead of time will really make your visit to the festival a lot more fun. To get you started, we have put together a complete Oktoberfest music guide covering common questions the explanation of the meaning of the main songs. We hope this song list and guide helps during your journey to Munich or to your local Oktoberfest party. Enjoy!
Common Oktoberfest Music Questions:
Do They Play Polka Music At Oktoberfest?
Germans will tell you NO as the music is German Oompah and definitely not Polka. Traditional Polka comes from Czech and Poland and relies more on the accordion while German Oompah has more of a brass band (Blaskapelle) feel. If you are from the United States, Oompah music will sound just like Polka to you as American Polka has more of a German influence than Polka from Europe does.
Will They Only Play Oompah Music?
You are going to be shocked when you realize how many modern songs the Brass Bands do covers of. Expect to hear tons of American oldies, German hits, and everything from John Devner to ACDC. As the day goes on they even add guitars to the band turning the excitement even higher.
When Does The Main Party Music Start?
Because Oktoberfest is family friendly for most of the day, the bands stick to using traditional brass instruments and don’t use elements like electric guitars until evening time starting at 6pm. That being said, even the daytime music from the brass bands and chants from the crowd quickly turn the tents into a festive party in no time.
Top 10 Most Popular Oktoberfest Songs:
1. I Salute You (Ein Prosit): Ein Prosit is THE song of Oktoberfest as it is played like clockwork in the beer tents every 15 minutes. This iconic song starts with the band repeating the words “Ein Prosit (Eyn Pro-zit) Der Gemütlichkeit (Dare Ga-mute-lic-kite)” meaning I Salute To Our Cozy Friendship & Good Times We’re Having Together. The entire crowd joins in singing with the band which helps the excitement build.
The song Ein Prosit continues with an “Eins, Zwei, Drei (einz, sfeye, dry)” or 1, 2, 3 countdown to “G’suffa (zuffa)” which means take a big drink. Ein Prosit ends with the band asking if you are having fun with either “Zicke Zacke Zicke Zacke?” or “Ticky Tocky Ticky Tocky?” and you respond “Oi Oi Oi” meaning yes we are. Some tents like the Schützen Feszelt also add their flair to Ein Prosit with a unique call to action before the song starts and an extra festive chant added to the end.
It is said that the beer tents at Oktoberfest started playing this song four-times-an-hour to get people to take more drinks so they could sell more beer, and it sure has paid off. As an example, the Hofbrau Beer Tent now sells over 750,000 liters a beer during the festival each year. Joining along with Ein Prosit is really a ton of fun, it helps you stay engaged with your neighbors, and it keeps you drinking!
#1 – Ein Prosit (Skip To 1 Min)
2. The Flyer Song (Fliegerlied): Released in 2008, this children’s song filled with playful animal gestures, was cemented into Oktoberfest lore thanks to a 2008 cover by Tim Toupet. The Flyer Song is about a man lying in the grass on a sunny day when we sees an airplane fly by and thinks of all the ways in which he would go to his love to share the beautiful day with her.
You’ll do a lot of singing the lyrics “La La La La La” & “Schwimm, Schwimm, Schwimm”, but it’s the dance that really makes the Fyler Song fun. If you don’t know the words, just pay attention to the motions the Germans are doing and follow along. The song has you flying like a plane, then acting strong like a tiger, being as tall as a giraffe, hopping like a kangaroo, and of course, swimming through the water before embracing your neighbor’s hand. The full name of the song is actually Today Is Such A Beautiful Day, but because of the crazy dance involved the nickname Flyer Song has stuck.
#2 – The Flyer Song (Skip To 90 Seconds)
3. Hey Baby – If You’ll Be My Girl:
Hey Baby is the one song that gets the biggest crowd reaction out of them all as pretty much every person in the tents will be singing along. The band doesn’t even have to be playing the song as chats of Hey Baby just erupt out of nowhere from the crowd.
Hey Baby has been a huge hit in America ever since Bruce Channel’s original in 1961 hit #1 on the charts, but it was DJ Ötzi that brought it to Germany. The German-speaking DJ from Austria released a remix to the song in the year 2000 that was popular on radios Worldwide.
#3 – Hey Baby
4. Hands to Heaven (Hände zum Himmel):
Hands to Heaven is one of the idealistic songs that should come to your mind when you picture Oktoberfest. This lively song asks for you to put your beers down raise your hands and clap along.
The Germans are going to know all the words, but if you don’t know them it is okay. Basically, the song asks you to cast aside your worries for the day and be merry. Getting everyone in your group to clap is corny, but has important symbolism. Since the 1000s of tent goers have their hands up clapping at the same time, it means that you are not strangers anymore as you are doing something together. It is a ton of fun even if you don’t know what’s going on.
#4 – Hands to Heaven (skip to 3 min)
The song Hulapalu has one of the most contagious hooks that you will hear in any Oktoberfest beer tent and is guaranteed to get people dancing. This hit dance club song was originally released in 2015 and but didn’t being to get very popular at Oktoberfest until two years later. The phrase Hulapalu doesn’t have a real meaning and the phrase was said in passing by the Austrian song writer’s girlfriend one day. Lucky her new word was blended perfectly into a tune that will be one of the best songs at Oktoberfest for decades to come.
#5 – Hulapalu
6. The Donkey Song, Ia Ia Ia Oh (Esellied):
Surprisingly The Donkey Song is one of the only traditional Oompah band songs to actually make our list as the top songs at Oktoberfest. It is one of the main Bavarian songs that you’ll hear at Oktoberfest celebrations in America and is also one of the most popular pump up songs at Oktoberfest in Munich.
The full name of The Donkey Song in German is Esellied (Ia Ia Ia oh) and is iconic for its unique yodeling chorus. The song is about a Donkey that just won’t go home as he waits outside for the lovely female donkey Veronica. You’ll catch on the Ia Ia Ia Oh part pretty easy. If you are wondering what they are saying when it sounds like “Hey Baba Ria” they are actually saying The Babe River.
#6 – Ia, Ia, Ia, Oh
7. Country Roads:
American musician John Denver is still huge in Europe and even bigger at Oktoberfest as country roads take you home. Ironically Denver’s real name was Henry John Deutschendorf as he was actually part German.
Many German and Polish bands have done popular covers of this and other John Denver songs. It’s not just this part of Europe that loves John Denver. If you go into bars or pubs anywhere you are bound to hear it at some point. We have fond memories of hearing Country Roads belted out by locals while visiting both England and Ireland.
#7 – Country Roads
8. Cordula Grün:
Every couple years a brand new song comes out and totally takes over Oktoberfest which was the case in 2018 with the hit Cordula Grün. The song by the band Josh, is about a short lived love affair with a girl named Cordula Grün. The signer sees the woman dancing when he falls in love and is still taken by her beautiful even after learning she is married to a pediatrician. The song has a very catchy choris and was turned into a brass band Oktoberfest hit by the band Die Draufgänger who really played off of the girl’s last name being Green (Grün) in their music video.
#8 – Cordula Grün
9. Breathless Through the Night (Atemlos durch die Nacht):
Since it was released in late 2013 by Helene Fischer, Breathless Through the Night (Atemlos durch die Nacht) has become an instant German party hit. The following year, this song about love and living in the moment, became one of the main Oktoberfest jams. When done by a live band the song makes the entire tent come alive. In the years to come, Atemlos durch die Nacht, has a chance to move way up our list as it solidifies itself as a top Oktoberfest song.
#9 – Breathless Through the Night
10. Sweet Caroline:
You can’t go wrong with Neil Diamond’s mega-hit about a young Caroline Kennedy riding a bike. The chorus of this American classic is known by pretty much every person in the beer tents, no matter what country they are from. Even if you don’t like the song, there is something energetic about it at Oktoberfest as the music really is the universal language. In 2009, DJ Ötzi released a remix to Sweet Caroline that was very popular in Germany and Austria which helped to reboot the song at Oktoberfest.
When Sweet Caroline comes on at Oktoberfest, expect the people around you to all reach toward the middle of the table and give spirit fingers right before the chorus. It happens during the lyrics “Hands touchin’ hands, Reachin’ out, touchin’ me touchin’ you” and was captured in the video to the Right. After watching it you won’t be able to stop yourself from copying them the next time Sweet Caroline is played. Don’t be alarmed if it feels natural to fist pump during the chorus, it’s Oktoberfest, let loose.
#10 – Sweet Caroline
11. Mountain Mother (Sierra Madre):
It is crazy to think that a German song with a Spanish chorus could be so huge in Munich, but it is, and it is awesome. The song was originally a 1970s ballad, but it wasn’t until an emotional cover by the Austrian band Zillertaler Schürzenjäger in 1987 that the song really latched on and became a mega-hit.
Sierra Madre is about a field worker who is greeted by the mountains in the morning as the day breaks and greeted by them again at sunset as he returns home from a hard day’s work. It is meant to make you reflect on the ending day not in sadness for it being over, but in happiness that you got to experience it at all. Because of the fitting theme, Sierra Madre is often played as the last song in the tents on the last day of Oktoberfest each year. In the Hacker Tent, everyone lights sparklers together and sings along in joy. It is a truly amazing experience.
#11 – Sierra Madre
12. Cowboys and Indians (Cowboy und Indianer):
Like the Flier Song list above, this is another children’s song that has become a hit with the Germans because of its silly dance; called the Lasso Dance. The dance is basically pretending like you are riding a horse, then using a lasso, followed by a lot of humping motions.
The lyrics to the song itself are very innocent as it is just about kids playing, so it’s super weird that it became a popular song for adults to drinking too. It is also a little strange that German kids play Cowboys and Indians anyway since they are so far removed from even knowing what they are. Either get ready to do your best Lasso Raus.
#12 – Cowboys and Indians (Skip to 2 Minutes)
13. Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Será, Será):
Iconic Doris Day song featured in the the Alfred Hitchcock film The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) is a classic staple at Oktoberfest in Munich Germany. Belting out this song at the top of the your lungs is one of the easiest ways to let all of your cares and worries melt away.
#13 – Que Será, Será
14. Seven Nation Army:
The chant from the song Seven Nation Army has made the American band the White Stripes a huge hit not just at soccer games, but also at Oktoberfest. There doesn’t even have to be music playing for the chat to become contagious and is spontaneously erupts from the crowds multiple times a day. Soccer has a big influence on sports culture in Munich even outside of Seven Nation Army being one of the top songs at Oktoberfest. The local professional team FC Bayern is well represented around Munich and in the beer tents you will even see the Icelandic team’s famous Skol Clap Chant many times inside the Oktoberfest tent.
#14 – Seven Nation Army
15. Anton From Tirol (Anton Aus Tirol):
This is really a love it or hate it song that is a very popular song at Oktoberfest, and we love it. In 2000, the hit version of “Anton From Tirol” by DJ Ötzi reached#1 in both German & Austria and it was quickly converted into the Oompah brass band style for Oktoberfest. The traditional version they do in the Oktoberfest tents is one of the biggest crowd favorites and could easily be in our top 10 Oktoberfest songs.
#15 – Anton aus Triol
Honorable Mention Oktoberfest Songs:
Preformed by the Austrian group STS, Fürstenfeld is one of our favorite songs in the Oktoberfest tents. Just clap with everyone, reply to Zicke Zacke Zicke Zacke with Hoi Hoi Hoi and you’ll have a great time. The song is about a young man from Fürstenfeld, a small town in Southeastern Austria near Graz, who is living in Vienna and is homesick.
#16 – Fürstenfeld
17. Wahnsinn Hölle, Hölle, Hölle:
If you want to see some happy Germans singing and dancing around, just wait for this party favorite by Wolfgang Petry. We really had no idea what was going on when we first heard it, but tossing your arms in the air with the group is fun.
#17 – Wahnsinn (skip to 1 minute)
18. Scandal In The Prositution-Free Zone (Skandal im Sperrbezirk):
Originally a pop/punk hybrid song from 1981 by the Munich-based Spider Murphy Gang, Skandal im Sperrbezirk is still very popular at Oktoberfest. The song tells the tale of a prostitute named Rosi, who advertises her services in the newspapers to lonely husbands inside Munich’s Prostitution-Free city center even after the brothels were restricted to the suburbs.
The most iconic part of the song is the catchy 80s-style keyboard hook and repeating chorus. Similar songs like the Time Warp is much more fun at Oktoberfest, but the high-energy Skandal im Sperrbezirk will always hold a place in the hearts of the people of Munich. The more you hear the Skandal im Sperrbezirk song at Oktoberfest, the more you will like it.
#18 – Skandal im Sperrbezirk
19. The Hofbräuhaus Song (Steht Ein Hofbräuhaus):
Written in 1935, this may be the most classic Oompah song in Munich. The song pays respect to all the great aspects Hofbrauhaus and is a must if you are visiting the old beer in addition to the Oktoberfest tents. The highlight of the song is the repeated countdown of Eins (1), Zwei (2), G’suffa (zuffa) meaning take a big drink which mimics the main Ein Prosit song.
#19 – Steht Ein Hofbräuhaus
20. Long Live Cologne (Viva Colonia):
One of the best German anthem songs at Oktoberfest is Long Live Cologne (Viva Colonia). This prideful tune was released in 2003 by the band De Höhner from Cologne, Germany. The name pays homeage to the original name for the city when it was a Roman settlement called Colonia even though it goes by its German name of Köln today. If you are surrounded by a lot of Munich locals when the song comes one you will hear them change the words to be Viva Bavaria which perfectly flows into Viva Colonia.
#20 – Long Live Cologne (skip to 1 minute)
21. Next Door To Alice (Who The Fuck Is Alice?):
This song at Oktoberfest is amazing! Originally released in 1976 by Smokie, it is a song about a guy who lived next to Alice for 24 years and he never got to tell her how he felt about her before she moved away. Sounds innocent enough right? The song became instant folklore when partiers started adding their own words, yelling “Alice, Alice, Who the Fuck is Alice?” after the chorus. It is almost impossible not to sing along. The song had a revival at Oktoberfest after the chorus of “Who the Fuck is Alice” was worked into part of the German pop song Joana du geile Sau.
#21 – Next Door To Alice (skip to 1 minute)
22. Rock Me (Rock Mi):
If you hear the band and crowd start to do the “We Will Rock You” clap and stomp rythm you from the famous Queen song, they are about to play the German song “Rock Mi”. Released in 2003 by the brass band VoXXclub, this song is a playful twist on the original with all new veres that merrily talk about the joys of dressing for Oktoberfest. It is mainy about wearing dirndls and lederhosen while nostaligicly dancing around.
#22 – Rock Me
23. Bella Ciao:
Originally adadted as an anti-fascist Italian folksong, the energetic Bella Ciao pops up often at both Oktoberfest and the Spring Festival. Munich’s verison of Bell Ciao (Goodbye Beautiful) keeps the Italian chorus but the rest is all in German. Because the original used an acordion and shared the anti-Facist spirit that grew amoung the citizens in German it became a prideful international song of the people. If you visit the Bräurosl Tent at Oktoberfest, you will even hear part of Bella Ciao chorus worked into their unique long version of Ein Prosit.
#23 – Bell Ciao
24. Joana You Horny Pig: (Joana du geile Sau):
Recorded in 1985, Joana You Horny Pig (Joana du geile Sau) has to be one of the silliest “love” songs to ever become a hit, but it is pretty good. A cover of Joana becames even more famous in both Germany and Spain in 2008 and it instantly became a staple tune at Oktoberfest in Munich.
During the song, a man falls for a beautiful woman named Joana who drives him to want to do naughty things with her by living forbidden dreams. The chorus is very catchy although we can’t tell if the writer was being ironic or endearing?… Translated into English the chorus roughly calls Joana “you horny pig, you hussy bitch, and you dirty shank“. Whichever way the writer meant it, the chorus for Joana You Horny Pig is very fun to sing along to and gets the entire crowd pumped up later in the evenings at Oktoberfest.
#24 – Joana You Horny Pig
The smash hit ballad “Angles” by British singer Robbie Williams seems to get bigger and bigger each year at Oktoberfest. This song is often played at closing time by some tents, and it is bound to get played at least once during the day no matter what tent you are in. You won’t be able to help but sing along.
#25 – Angels
26. 99 Luftballons:
This mega-hit by artist Nena maybe the most widely known German pop song from the 1980s and is still rocking Oktoberfest crowds today. It doesn’t have the same traditional music feel or crowd chanting as some of the other German songs on this list, but it is still guaranteed to put everyone in your tent in a good mood with pure nostalgia.
#26 – 99 Luftballons (skip to 1 minute)
27. Even More American-ish Hits:
Especially after the bands add guitars in the evening expect to hear a ton of American classics. Germans sure love American music so we felt the need to list a collection of the rest in one post! You’ll hear everything from Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd, We Are the Champions by Queen, No I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor, La Bamba by Ritchie Valens, I’ve Had The Time Of My Life from Dirty Dancing, Can’t Take My Eyes Off You by Frankie Valli, surprisingly Born In The USA by Bruce Springsteen, Don’t Stop Believing by Journey, plus much more. All of the tents will play American music, but the Schützen Festzelt & Käfer’s Wies’n-Schänke tents rock them out the best. Expect tons of other English speaking hits like Woman No Cry by Bob Marley (Jamaican) and Shook Me All Night Long by ACDA (Australian).
#27 – American Jams