Back in the early 1900s, when people talk about enjoyment, excesses of life (for guys, ..yes sexual bias) ... it was "wine, women and song". Funny though, they'd probably be drinking not so fine wines then but everything's relative. Women are women la. Song is more live cabaret singers as vinyl and radio weren't so prevalent then. That was the mantra for a hedonistic, indulgent behaviour.
The pleasure-seeking mantra wasn't an English invention. 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 – "Víno, ženy a zpěv" (wine, women and singing)
Danish – "Vin, kvinder og sang" (wine, women and song)
Finnish – "Viini, laulu ja naiset" (wine, song, and 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" (women, wine and song)
Polish – "Wino, kobiety i śpiew" (wine, women and song)
Swedish – "Vin, kvinnor och sång" (wine, women and song)
Spain – "Naipes, Mujeres y Vino, Mal Camino" (cards, women and wine, bad ways)
Portuguese – "Putas e vinho verde" (whores and green wine)
I like the Italian one, which had tobacco, or in my case, cigars, and the Italians sure know how to put such things in wonderful words: Bacchus, tobacco and Venus. How to top that?
Persians have "meat, wine and youth" .... hmmm, interesting. Portuguese are so direct: "whores and green wine", I wonder.
The phrase "wine, women and song" 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 (not the 1960s Martin Luther), although Bartlett's Familiar Quotations names Johann Heinrich Voss (1751–1826) as a more likely source.
The waltz "Wine, Women and Song" (Wein, Weib und Gesang) is Op. 333 (1869) of Johann Strauss II had also been cited as a root influence.
Moving into the 60s and 70s, "wine, women and song" seemed so outdated and passe. The mantra morphed into "sex, drugs and rock n roll". The earlier phrase was sexist as "women" were objectified and neglected. The rise of feminism, peace and equal rights movement probably caused the mantra to be changed.
Though "sex, drugs and rock n roll" started in the 60s, the phrase wasn't coined till Ian Dury wrote the song "Sex, Drugs and Rock n Roll" in 1977. The phrase truly captured the turbulent and mind changing 60s and 70s. The shift in generational gap has never been wider. Older folks could not comprehend what the younger set was trying to do with their lives.
Know what, the Ian Dury's song is still pretty good sounding.
Anyone want to try and recoin the mantra for the present days???