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Top 20 "Must Know" songs for corporate/wedding gigs?


Michael W

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Outside of stuff like "Macarena," "Hokey Pokey," "Chicken Dance," and "YMCA," what songs would you suggest are "must know" tunes for any keyboardist wanting to gig in the US? (Non-US responses might be interesting to hear as well.)

 

Of course there will always be popular tunes of the moment, but assuming it's not a full-on Top-40 band, what do gigging players consider to be THE "standards" of 2013?

 

Michael

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http://www.youtube.com/keybdwizrd

 

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Here are some of the ones that are pretty surefire...

 

Sweet Caroline

Don't Stop Believing

Living on a Prayer

My Girl

Margaritaville

Shout

Build Me Up Buttercup

 

and there's always some Stones, some Sinatra...

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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Ya might need to have "celebration" on the list, but if you do, don't call on me to sub. Words can't describe how much I loathe that song...

When I hired a band for my own wedding (a very long time ago), the only song request I gave them was that they were not to play that song. Sure enough, they played it.

 

 

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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Ya might need to have "celebration" on the list, but if you do, don't call on me to sub. Words can't describe how much I loathe that song...

When I hired a band for my own wedding (a very long time ago), the only song request I gave them was that they were not to play that song. Sure enough, they played it.

I also banned this song at my wedding 25 years ago. The band complied. Damn shame I didn't think to ban Rick Astley's "Together Forever" because that was played when we were introduced. :facepalm:

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tunes that seem to getting huge responses at every wedding reception, in no particular order (some more cringeworthy than others):

 

sweet caroline

september

this is how we do it

best of my love

shook me all night long

play the funky music

lady marmalade

 

..
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Songs frequently requested (both corporate and wedding), in no particular order

 

The Killers - Mr Brightside

Kings of Leon - Sex is on Fire

Toploader - Dancing in the Moonlight

Crowded House - Weather With You

Guns 'n' Roses - Sweet Child o' Mine

The Commitments - Mustang Sally (<< Don't shout at me!)

Bon Jovi - Living on a Prayer

Bryan Adams Summer of 69

Phil Collins Easy Lover

Los Lobos - La Bamba

Tina Turner - Simply The Best

AC/DC - Shook Me All Night Long

Queen Crazy Little Thing Called Love

The Doobie Brothers Long Train Running

 

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And don't forget the white man's mating call, Mustang Sally. I wish I could.

Yamaha P515 | Yamaha CP4 | Yamaha MODX 8 | Casio PX S1000 | Nord Electro 5D | Moog Sub 37 | Korg Monologue | Native Instruments Maschine MK3 | Novation Circuit Tracks | Plug-ins Agogo

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About a hundred years ago (well, maybe 25), I was playing solo piano in a cozy little restaurant. An older gent approached and asked if I would play "Take the A Train".

I've played that tune 10,000 times, I'm sure. I wanted to make some smart aleck reply about the D+ chord being broken on the piano, but I feared the ghost of my grandmother would appear in my dreams and berate me for not respecting my elders.

So I played it.

He tipped me a fifty-dollar bill. At a time when my young family was on food stamps, that was a lot of money for one little tune.

Lesson learned: all of you who are "too good" to play certain tunes, or you're sick of them; you've forgotten who you're playing for. I'm not saying your first set should be Misty-Girl from Ipanema - Take the A Train - Mustang Sally - Old Time R&R - Play that Funky Music - etc. But If someone wants a tune, and you're capable, play the damn thing and make them happy.

A few years back we were playing cocktail music at a very nice club, and the drummer flat out refused to play "There Will Never Be Another You." I counted off the tune, and he proceeded to futz with his set - tightening the snare, adjusting the hi-hat, etc. - anything to not play. We finished the night, I gave him his pay, and fired him. We all have songs with bad connotations or whatnot, but get over yourself.

Of course, if the client says: "NO 'CELEBRATION'!", then it's up to you to respect that as well.

If your self-respect won't allow you to play "Macarena" or "Chicken Dance" at a wedding, just put them on a CD and play them at the set break.

 

Muzikteechur is Lonnie, in Kittery, Maine.

 

HS music teacher: Concert Band, Marching Band, Jazz Band, Chorus, Music Theory, AP Music Theory, History of Rock, Musical Theatre, Piano, Guitar, Drama.

 

 

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As Lonnie suggested we just DJ the stuff we don't want to play. Everybody's happy.

 

Don't forget the ubiquitous "Brown Eyed Girl". I've learned not to complain about that song around non-musicians because someone invariably shouts "I love that song". And I'm reminded of why I must play it. At least I'm getting paid for it!

Live rig: Roland FA-08, Yamaha MOTIF ES 6, laptop for supplemental sounds.
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Lot's of wedding (in general: party) standards in my experience. Disco/dance classics are well represented.

 

For better or worse of course, but 'everything' for the client, esp. when explicitly agreed upon.

 

Relight My Fire

Disco Inferno

Play That Funky Music

That's The Way I Like It

YMCA

Long Train Running

Proud Mary

Blame It On The Boogie

Ease On Down The Road

I Want You Back

Lady Marmelade

 

IMHO, it's an art to find the not beaten-to-death-but-very-recognizable tunes and mingle them in between a couple of these ones.

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Current hot selections for weddings:

 

Cha-Cha Shuffle - DJ Casper

Cupid Shuffle - Cupid

Single Ladies - Beyonce

I've Got A Feeling - Black Eyed Peas

We Can't Stop - Miley Cyrus

I Was Born This Way - Lady Gaga

Lucky - Jason Mraz

Forget You - Cee Lo Green

 

A lot of the old wedding standards have given way to modern songs, although "Love Shack" by the B-52's still works, and you can throw in "I Saw Her Standing There" by The Beatles for fun. But stupid things like "Cha Cha Shuffle" are mandatory now. One band I work with plays standards like Mustang Sally and Brown Eyed Girl live, then switches to Cupid Shuffle and Cha Cha Shuffle on MP3 during their breaks to cover everything.

 

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IMHO, it's an art to find the not beaten-to-death-but-very-recognizable tunes and mingle them in between a couple of these ones.

 

Lots of good stuff in this thread.

 

In my corporate gig years ago, our audience were all statisticians / programmers. We played at a party before the closing day of the conference(s). These were held all over the U.S.

 

Every year we had to come up with new tunes that fit the bill - and made them dance. And each year, since the bandmembers were from all across the U.S., we had to learn our parts before we got to the conference, then rehearse in the hotel - sometimes in a conference room, but often in a hotel room. It was primarily the vocal harmonies we had to get right, as there were five vocalists in the band.

 

The tunes listed in this thread were often played - because they were recognizable by the audience, AND they would get the crowd on the floor and try to dance.

 

There were open bars all around the room. Things usually stated slow, but as the night grew older, the KindaCrazyAndNotGonnaWinDancingWithTheStars-type emerge from the shadows. Of course, I cannot reveal all that I saw, but the audience seemed quite different from the reserved PhD folks who presented papers such as, "Agile Adoption: Measuring its Worth" and Big Data in Big Companies: Pragmatic Research Results and Implementation Strategies. :)

 

Funny... they all LOVED "Mustang Sally". :thu:

 

Every time.

 

Tom

 

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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Lonnie makes a good point. If you're in a cover band or a similar kind of act like he was, you play the tunes. If you're an originals act that plays some covers, that's different, IMNSHO.

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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+1, Lonnie. As much as we hate some of these tunes (or have just grown tired of them, to be accurate, in most cases) we shouldn't forget they put food on the table. I've just started working with a pretty basic soul band and the thought of playing Dancing In The Street is making my toes curl somewhat. But so what? People love it, and these guys have gigs in the book well into the new year, so they're obviously doing something right.

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My band has been playing wedding/corporate gigs for over 30 years although lately, not so much.... I can't think of a wedding where we have not played the following songs:

 

Unforgettable

At Last

I Can't Help Falling in Love With You

Crazy

Misty

Mack the Knife

Designated Rhumba, Cha Cha or Bossa Nova (Spanish Eyes, Autumn Leaves, Bessa Me Mucho)

Polka (usually any will do)

Old Time Rock & Roll

I Will Survive

Love Shack

Play that Funky Music

Get Down Tonight

Electric Slide

What I Like About You/ROCK in the USA

Brown Eyed Girl

Mustang Sally

Melt With You

Don't Stop Believing

Living on a Prayer

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing."

- George Bernard Shaw

 

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(or have just grown tired of them, to be accurate, in most cases)

Right... I may have never liked Celebration or Boogie Oogie Oogie, but I had no problem with Mustang Sally or Sweet Caroline. You may get tired of it after playing it at 100 gigs, but most of the people at the gigs probably haven't heard it in years. Unless they've been to another wedding. ;-)

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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We'll play anything they want. We played the "Chicken Dance" at a corp. party when nobody in the band (we're in Texas) had ever played it before. Got a guest to hum a few bars. - pulled it off very well - crowd dances their tails off. We played "Sick and Tired" ['I'm sick and tired foolin' around with you...'] at a wedding reception - I realized the blunder half way through the first verse. Nobody in the party noticed. All dancing - lining up activities for later in the evening. We just aren't tune snobs. We love to entertain them and get them up on the dance floor. We try hard to play each song like it's brand new to us and swing/rock hard.

 

"Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown."
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Since no one has mentioned them yet:

 

Ain't Too Proud To Beg

Midnight Hour

The fact there's a Highway To Hell and only a Stairway To Heaven says a lot about anticipated traffic numbers

 

People only say "It's a free country" when they're doing something shitty-Demetri Martin

 

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We'll play anything they want. We played the "Chicken Dance" at a corp. party when nobody in the band (we're in Texas) had ever played it before. Got a guest to hum a few bars. - pulled it off very well - crowd dances their tails off. We played "Sick and Tired" ['I'm sick and tired foolin' around with you...'] at a wedding reception - I realized the blunder half way through the first verse. Nobody in the party noticed. All dancing - lining up activities for later in the evening. We just aren't tune snobs. We love to entertain them and get them up on the dance floor. We try hard to play each song like it's brand new to us and swing/rock hard.

 

The Thrill is Gone is another great bride/groom song. :)

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My band has been playing wedding/corporate gigs for over 30 years although lately, not so much.... I can't think of a wedding where we have not played the following songs:

 

Unforgettable

At Last

I Can't Help Falling in Love With You

Crazy

Misty

Mack the Knife

Designated Rhumba, Cha Cha or Bossa Nova (Spanish Eyes, Autumn Leaves, Bessa Me Mucho)

Polka (usually any will do)

Old Time Rock & Roll

I Will Survive

Love Shack

Play that Funky Music

Get Down Tonight

Electric Slide

What I Like About You/ROCK in the USA

Brown Eyed Girl

Mustang Sally

Melt With You

Don't Stop Believing

Living on a Prayer

 

Great list!

 

Michael

Montage 8, Logic Pro X, Omnisphere, Diva, Zebra 2, etc.

http://www.youtube.com/keybdwizrd

 

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We played "Sick and Tired" ['I'm sick and tired foolin' around with you...'] at a wedding reception - I realized the blunder half way through the first verse. Nobody in the party noticed.

Yeah, at some point we realized that "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" probably wasn't a great choice to play at a wedding. But it's on our song list and sometimes people still request it. And we still do play "You've Lost That Loving Feeling" pretty often. People just love the song. And it's not quite as bad as the other, to play on a wedding night.

 

I remember reading an interview with Carly Simon where she said that she's aware that lots of people have requested "That's the Way I've Always Heard It Should Be" played at their weddings, which she finds incongruous. The chorus may sound nicely romantic out of context, but the rest of the song is a pretty damning indictment of the whole idea.

 

Just goes to show, half the people never pay attention to the lyrics anyway.

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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Ones that never ever seem to fail:

 

Sweet Carloline

Mustang Sally

Sweet Child of mine

Sex on Fire

Mr. Brightside.

Dance the Night Away (The Mavericks)

Brown Eyed Girl

Superstition

Shout - Lulu

Proud Mary (either version, Tina Turner and Ike one always goes down best though)

Working 9 til 5

Valerie

Anything by AC/DC

Play that funky music

Don't Stop Believing

Sweet Home Alabama

Blame it on the Boogie

Maggie May - Rod Stewart

Walking on Sunshine

Summer of 69

Twist and Shout/La Bamba (we merge the two together into a medley)

 

and if you ever play in Scotland, always, always, always, always end with Loch Lomand by Runrig unless asked otherwise!

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Jellyroll has been a staple in the Philadelphia area for many many years; top notch musicians and a great party band. They play weddings and corporate events, inaugural affairs, etc... Sift through their song list ....

 

http://www.bvtlive.com/jellyroll-song-list

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Jellyroll has been a staple in the Philadelphia area for many many years; top notch musicians and a great party band. They play weddings and corporate events, inaugural affairs, etc... Sift through their song list ....

 

http://www.bvtlive.com/jellyroll-song-list

 

This is a great idea.

Find the best high profile cover bands , and sift through their song lists.

 

Brett

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