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Wine, women and song

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Title: Wine, women and song  
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Subject: Rake (character), Hedonism, Negoro-gumi, Laughing Colors, Johann Heinrich Voss
Collection: Hedonism, Phrases
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Wine, women and song

"Who does not Love Wine Wife & Song will be a Fool for his Lifelong!"

"Wine, women, and song" is a hendiatris that endorses hedonistic lifestyles or behaviors. In modern times, it is usually seen in the form "sex and drugs and rock 'n' roll," a phrase popularized by British singer Ian Dury in his song of the same title.


  • Linguistic variations 1
  • Possible origins 2
  • In popular culture 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Linguistic variations

Similar tripartite mottoes have existed for a long time in many languages, for example:

  • Bengali/Hindi/Sanskrit – "Sur, Sura, Sundari" (music, wine and woman)
  • Bulgarian – "Пиене, ядене и някоя сгодна женица" (drink, food and a good woman)
  • Czech – "Ženy, víno a zpěv" (women, wine and song)
  • Danish – "Vin, kvinder og sang" (wine, women and song)
  • Finnish – "Viini, laulu ja naiset" (wine, song, and women)
  • duduk, women)
  • German – "Wein, Weib und Gesang" (wine, woman and singing)
  • Italian – "Bacco, tabacco e Venere" (Bacchus, tobacco and Venus)
  • Persian – "Kabab, Sharab va Shabab" (meat, wine and youth)
  • Norwegian – "Piker, vin og sang" (girls, wine and song)
  • Polish – "Wino, kobiety i śpiew" (wine, women and singing)
  • Portuguese – "Putas, música e vinho verde" (whores, music and green wine)
  • Swedish – "Vin, kvinnor och sång" (wine, women and song)
  • Spanish – "Naipes, Mujeres y Vino, Mal Camino" (cards, women and wine, bad way)

Not all hendiatris including women are positive: in Greek – "Πύρ, γυνή και θάλαττα" ("fire, women and the sea") instead suggest three dangers rather than pleasures, and Turkish At, Avrat, Silah ("horse, woman, weapon") offers the three essentials of quite another culture.

The following "tetrad" (using four concepts rather than three) predates all of the above :

  • Persian "دویار زیرک و از باده کهن دو منی فراغتی و کتابی و گوشه چمنی" a popular Ghazal by Hafez (1325–1389):
"Two sweethearts,
Two flasks of old wine,
A book of verse
And a cosy corner in the garden."

Possible origins

The phrase may have also originated with the following couplet: "Who does not love wine, women and song / Remains a fool his whole life long." Variations on this quote have been attributed to Martin Luther, although Bartlett's Familiar Quotations names Johann Heinrich Voss (1751–1826) as a more likely source.[1]

The waltz "Wine, Women and Song" (Wein, Weib und Gesang) is Op. 333 (1869) of Johann Strauss II.

The lines Deutsche Frauen, deutsche Treue, / Deutscher Wein, und deutscher Sang (German women, German loyalty, / German wine, and German song) are found in the second verse of Das Lied der Deutschen, the third verse of which is the German national anthem.

In popular culture

  • The single "Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll" by Ian Dury, mentioned above, popularized the modern English-language form of the phrase.
  • The British poet and mystic Aleister Crowley, in his work Energized Enthusiasm, suggests that "wine, women, and song" may be utilised towards the development of genius in the individual or the attainment of mystical states.
  • The musical trio Wine, Women and Song consists of award-winning singer/songwriters Gretchen Peters, Suzy Bogguss, and Matraca Berg.
  • AC/DC quotes the motto in the title song of their album, High Voltage (1976).
  • In a wagon scene in Calvin and Hobbes, Calvin asks Hobbes if he thinks the secret to happiness is "money, cars and women" or "just money and cars."
  • Science fiction series Babylon 5 episode "Born to the Purple" reveals that the password to the hedonistic ambassador Londo Mollari's "Purple Files" (i.e., blackmail material on other houses of the Centauri Republic) is "Wine, Women, Song."
  • American jam band Umphrey's McGee uses a variation of the phrase in the song "Women, Wine, and Song" on their 2006 album Safety in Numbers.
  • "Wine, Women an' Song" is the name of the fifth song on Come an' Get It by Whitesnake
  • The song "I'm a Member of the Midnight Crew" by William Jerome and Jean Schwartz contains the verse, "I always spend my evening where there's women, wine and song."
  • American rock band Harvey Danger (best known for their 1997 song "Flagpole Sitta") include a song titled "Wine, Women and Song" as the first track of their 2005 album Little by Little...
  • During the 1990s and 2000s, a Latin poem of unknown origin has been written on the packs of Classic, a Serbian brand of cigarette:

Omne mundi trinum,
mulier, tabacum, vinum,
et qui curat de pluribus,
maximus est asinus!


  1. ^ Entry in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations

External links

  • American Musical Trio Wine, Women & Song
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