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Medley / Song Mixes


Bootsy

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When playing a gig yesterday with my duo, I was thinking of the different medleys/song mixes that we've done together both as a duo and as members of a couple of bands. Personally, I love mixing two songs together that others may not realize are similar in structure. We regularly play:

 

- Under the Milky Way (the Alarm) with Love Song (the Cure)

- Radio Nowhere (Springsteen) with Jenny/867-5309 (Tommy Tutone)

 

We've also done:

- Takin' Care of Business (BTO) with Pride (U2)

- Come Monday (Jimmy Buffett) with California (Phanom Planet)

- Sunday Bloody Sunday with Sometimes You Can't Make it On Youw Own (Both U2)

 

There's also the whole E-A-D-A crowd of ROCK in the USA, What I Like About You, Gloria, etc. I've also messed with Don't Stop Believing (Journey) with With or Without You (U2) but vocally it's tough to play live for me.

 

Any other mixes that other people play? Just curious....

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We do the What I Like/ROCK one.

 

My old band did a Ramones Medley of Blitzkreig Bop and I wanna be Sedated that worked pretty well.

 

We have a lot of songs that we string together, not because they are similar in structure, but because we want to keep the music going - usually they just have to be similar in tempo.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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I absolutely HATE medleys and refuse to do them. They basically make all the songs sound awful by stripping all the stuff that makes them special.

 

Blends of two songs can work if done right, or can devolve into a shorter form of the Medley disease. When you take two songs that sound too similar, playing them together just accentuates the similarities in a non-flattering way.

 

I have subbed for bands that do the "What I Like About You"/"R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A." medley, and felt that it made both songs sound more monotonous than they otherwise are on their own.

 

An example of a medley that works is Chuck Berry's pairing of "Kansas City" with "Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey", which The Beatles later hooked onto as well. The songs are rhythmicallt different, and so it actually makes both songs sound LESS monootonous as it ADDS rather than SUBTRACTS contrast, while sounding a whole.

 

Of course, jazz artists throw in a quote or two from classical, pop, and other jazz numbers all the time, but they wisely keep it to just a quote of familiarity and then get back to business. :-) It can help keep a listener latched onto a solo, for instance.

 

I don't even get the point of doing Medleys from a performer's point of view, as it means you have to learn way more songs for the time slot than otherwise. But if you think an audience will only be pleased if they hear a Medley or two, I can see why they would slip into the set list.

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I get what Mark is saying here. Sometimes putting songs together like this only makes people go, "hey yeah, those two songs *are* similar!" and then realize they're listening to the same thing for even longer if you play both tunes close to full length, or rip out the character of each if you just play highlights of both. It takes work to make each song interesting when you put them together.

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Hah, little do you know... I just spent the better part of the past few months doing the OPPOSITE: I created an AC/DC mini-Musical, Broadway-style with brass, woodwinds, strings, choir, accordion, harmonium, and jazz brush drum set.

 

They actually sound more different from each other now than on the albums. :-) Nevermind that I borrowed heavily from "Fiddler on the Roof", James Bond movies, etc. :-)

 

I like the idea of mash-ups, when done well. I consider them a different category than medleys. And Joe hit the nail on the head with his summary, as it's really all about whether one is focusing on tastefulness or not. Unfortunately most don't -- especially those ten-seconds-of-each-song medleys like Stars on 45.

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I like the idea of mash-ups, when done well. I consider them a different category than medleys. And Joe hit the nail on the head with his summary, as it's really all about whether one is focusing on tastefulness or not. Unfortunately most don't -- especially those ten-seconds-of-each-song medleys like Stars on 45.

 

I totally agree. I went to see one of the bigger bands that play around here, The Zoo. I was left unimpressed. Each set is basically a medley from start to finish. In an attempt to keep the flow in place, the drummer made little attempt to find the rhythmic identity of each segment, and almost all tunes were transposed from their original recording.

 

They do well, so I guess their style does appeal to many in the audience, but it did nothing for me.

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We've got this 50's medley that we do once in a while that's rather fun. The typical 12/8 I-vi-ii-V. The part that makes it fune is we never do it the same way twice, adding and removing songs at will, plus we'll go around to the lead players, and we'll play some definate instrumental themes from the era. I'll play "Last Date", followed by our slide player doing "Sleepwalk".

 

Sometimes when we end the night with it, we'll pick up the tempo after it ends, and go into "Stay". As each player in introduced, we'll do a little solo thing, and I'll grab a monophonic Mini-Moog sound and imitate that lead from Jackson Brown's live version.

 

Sometimes doing medleys can be very lucrative. Our first time in this one club, toward the end of the first set the bartenders asked for some Johnny Cash. We went into a medley of his songs. When we went on break, the bartender, who also takes care of bookings, had the calendar out, ready to give us more dates. This has since become out steadiest club, with at least 3-4 gigs there a month.

 

We have one medly where it's the same song. We'll start out with the traditional version of "Your Cheatin' Heart", going all the way through, complete with solos. Then we'll break for 1 bar, and launch into a heavey rockin' swing version, also with solos. Much fun.

 

 

"In the beginning, Adam had the blues, 'cause he was lonesome.

So God helped him and created woman.

 

Now everybody's got the blues."

 

Willie Dixon

 

 

 

 

 

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I totally agree. I went to see one of the bigger bands that play around here, The Zoo. I was left unimpressed. Each set is basically a medley from start to finish. In an attempt to keep the flow in place, the drummer made little attempt to find the rhythmic identity of each segment, and almost all tunes were transposed from their original recording.

 

They do well, so I guess their style does appeal to many in the audience, but it did nothing for me.

 

My guitar player's bro in law plays in a band like that- they also do well. They asked him to play with them and he said there was no way he could. Every song stripped down to the bare elements, not a single solo/improv section, no room for creativity and the whole show is about transitions into the next song.

 

We do one medley, motowny stuff- Shotgun->Rescue Me->Dancin in the Street->Knock on Wood. Each song is done in it's entirety and in the original key/tempo but they are such short songs the whole medley is like 10 minutes. We do a Stevie Wonder "double shot" that is Signed Sealed Delivered right into Uptight. We normally don't take much more than a few seconds between songs anyway, one ends, the next is counted off or whoever starts it, starts it and everyone falls in, so the set could be considered some sort of medley I guess.

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Did a gig as a sub last week, they played a Summer Nights (Grease) - Walking On Sunshine - You Can't Hurry Love medley. And a 'Stone' medley: Joss Stone (Tell Me 'Bout It) - Deee-lite (Groove is in the heart) - Dance To The Music (Sly Stone). Loved to let the people 'hear some organ' on that last one. Extatic!
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The band I was talking about, The Zoo, would play about 30 seconds from each song. My friend joked that it was music for the ADD crowd.

 

Stringing songs together is a whole different beast. When you have people out on the dance floor, you want to keep them there, and the best way to do that is to keep the music coming.

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My guitar player's bro in law plays in a band like that- they also do well. They asked him to play with them and he said there was no way he could. Every song stripped down to the bare elements, not a single solo/improv section, no room for creativity and the whole show is about transitions into the next song.

 

There's a band around here that does the same thing. One song segues into the next, just like Stars On 45.

I can't stand them, but a lot of people like them. They also have the added attraction in that all their wives are in the band as well, doing vocals. However, instead of coming up with 4 part harmonies, they all sing the same pitch.

Pathetically lame.

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The band I was talking about, The Zoo, would play about 30 seconds from each song. My friend joked that it was music for the ADD crowd.

 

Stringing songs together is a whole different beast. When you have people out on the dance floor, you want to keep them there, and the best way to do that is to keep the music coming.

 

Yeah, that's what it's about for us - and I think any band that would classify as a DANCE band - keeping the folks on the dance floor moving. Even when we do What I Like/ROCK, we still play the entire song of each, and play each one as it should be, we just take advantage of the similarities to string them together. We do the same with other transitions, but by the end of the transition, we have completely moved on to the next song and are playing it like the CD.

 

I haven't heard any bands around here to the "stars on 45" thing you guys are talking about, but it sounds aweful. We had tossed around the idea of throwing together a medley of 80's TV show theme songs, just for the novelty of it (being an all 80's band). That's a bit different, though. Who wants to hear the ENTIRE song from Greatest American Hero, Facts of Life, or the A Team. Bosom Buddies maybe. Anyway, I doubt we'll do it. It just sounded like kind of a fun idea.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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Someone should do 'Want a new Drug'/'Ghostbusters'! [cool]

 

 

In 1984, Ray Parker Jr. was signed by the producers of Ghostbusters to develop the film's title song. Later that year, Huey Lewis and the News sued Parker, citing the similarities between the Ghostbusters theme song and their earlier hit "I Want a New Drug". According to Huey Lewis and the News, this was especially damaging to them since the Ghostbusters theme song was so popular, rising to number one on the charts for three weeks. Parker and Lewis later settled out of court.[2] Huey Lewis has stated that his experiences with the producers of Ghostbusters may have been indirectly responsible for getting his band involved with the movie Back to the Future.

 

In the 2001 Behind the Music special, Huey Lewis stated: "The offensive part was not so much that Ray Parker Jr. had ripped this song off, it was kind of symbolic of an industry that wants something -- they wanted our wave, and they wanted to buy it. ... t's not for sale. ... In the end, I suppose they were right. I suppose it was for sale, because, basically, they bought it."[3] As a result of this statement, Ray Parker Jr. has filed a suit against Huey Lewis, claiming he violated the settlement's confidentiality agreement and seeking an unspecified amount of compensatory and punitive damages as well as attorney fees. The lawsuit is ongoing.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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Sometimes medley's are necessary. When you see Stevie Wonder live you get at least one medley. If he sang all of his hits end to end the show would take days. Hell, his medley can be 25+ minutes long.
Instrumentation is meaningless - a song either stands on its own merit, or it requires bells and whistles to cover its lack of adequacy, much less quality. - kanker
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I remember Roy Clark in a live performance telling the crowd, "Here's a medley of my hit."

 

Same performance where he had some young skinny kid tearing up the 5-string banjo, and Roy said, "Put it out there at the end of your belly where you can't see it and try that."

 

 

"In the beginning, Adam had the blues, 'cause he was lonesome.

So God helped him and created woman.

 

Now everybody's got the blues."

 

Willie Dixon

 

 

 

 

 

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My dance band has done these things we call the "power set" or "setlet." We string 2 or more songs together and they work pretty well for us to establish some kind of theme and keep people on the dance floor. We as a band get tired of them, so we rotate the setlets and also refresh them regularly. I was just looking over our draft setlist for NYE and see these will be in rotation that night:

 

- Best of My Love -> Dance Shout

- In the Stone -> September -> Let's Groove

- 1999 -> Kiss -> Rock Steady

- Rock with You -> Billie Jean -> Thriller (we also put in the huge horn signature from Wanna Be Startin' Something)

 

Regards,

Eric

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Medleys work best with bands that have songs that pretty much sound the same anyway. I was in a group some years ago that put together a CCR Medley. (For those of you that don't remember who they were....that's Credence Clearwater Revival) Back in the old days, those songs were considered very "danceable", so we strung together a number of them to wear out the people that kept coming up and asking for "dance songs". So we gave it to them. 20 minutes of CCR usually sat them down afterward. :deadhorse:

 

Mike T.

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Mike, I hope you're being sarcastic. :-)

 

BTW, a brother or cousin or whatever of CCR's lead man, did our sound at a club in the area last year. As this is a publicly searchable forum, that's as much as I'm going to say. :-)

Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Hofner HCT-500/7, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari

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