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The most overplayed songs in the Classic Rock Catalog


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What in your opinion are the most worn out, overused, played-out, hackneyed, cliched songs that should never be played again by any classic rock band with any claim to good taste?

Always remember that you�re unique. Just like everyone else.

 

 

 

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In my neck of the woods:

 

Rockin In The Free World (Neil Young)

Radar Love (Golden Earring)

Honky Tonk Women (Stones)

Brown Sugar (Stones)

Satisfaction (Stones)

Pride And Joy (SRV)

Black Night (Deep Purple)

Smoke On The Water (Deep Purple)

Whatever You Want (Status Quo)

 

The list goes on :)

 

"I'm a work in progress." Micky Barnes

 

The Ross Brown Shirt World Tour

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Well, after 34-54 years of constant broadcast, it basically comes down to this: a classic rock song is either overplayed or esoteric.

 

Why do bands still play the overplayed? Because they are instantly recognized by everyone.

 

Why do (most) bands not strictly play deep cuts or B sides? Because maybe only 5% of the audience will know the material.

 

For example, one of my favorite bands growing up was Led Zeppelin. I know their entire catalog. Some people only know their radio songs. I could play the entire album Coda and there'd probably only be one guy in the audience who would get it. Everyone else would probably think I was playing my own originals (because they've never heard the songs before).

 

So, yes, "Sweet Home Alabama" is quite overplayed. Yet every time I play it it still gets a good response by the majority of the audience. (The one guy sitting on the bar stool all alone would rather hear me play "Ozone Baby" but nobody else would get it.)

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Put another way, there is an audience for the overplayed and one for the esoteric. I'd say the overplayed audience is bigger.

 

You can try to appeal to both audiences. It might be fun to split it 50/50 and run pairs of songs by the same artist, one overplayed and one esoteric. It's a gimmick that just might work.

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(Un)Fortunately, many of these are the same songs that get many people dancing and drinking.

 

And that's the 'catch-22' of playing classic rock. You gotta play what people recognize.

 

 

You can try to appeal to both audiences. It might be fun to split it 50/50 and run pairs of songs by the same artist, one overplayed and one esoteric. It's a gimmick that just might work.

 

That's something we do that helps differentiate us a little bit. We do about 25% or so of the 'b-side' songs that people still can dance to, etc. We've done "Wild Horses" and "Dead Flowers" instead of "Satisfaction", for example. We've had good feedback from it.

"Political language... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind"- George Orwell
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Why do bands still play the overplayed? Because they are instantly recognized by everyone.

 

Yes, but does this not always come down to whether or not you are underestimating your audience and their knowledge of music? Granted, in some genres this will come into play more so than in others.

 

Additionally, a cover band can have "signature" tunes too. When I played in the blues band, people insisted we play James Brown's "It's A Man's World" and Neil Young's "Cortez The Killer" (which we stretched up to 15 minutes at one point). One could argue that these are pretty well known songs - but the rockabilly band used to do some Mike NEss tunes which went over a storm - and he is definitely not the type of artist that most of the people who came to see us, would know...

 

So in conclusion, I think a lot of bands "play it safe" with song selections. "Hey, everyone plays Kravitz' 'Are You Gonna Go My Way' so let's do that one too!" While 'Mr Cab Driver' was also a big hit and never makes the set lists here.

"I'm a work in progress." Micky Barnes

 

The Ross Brown Shirt World Tour

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I play a lot of "overplayed" songs at gigs. They are on the request lists given to us by clients who pay us very well. Are we supposed to play the B-sides of those songs instead? Maybe they are b-sides because they are not as good songs.

 

Sure, I'd love to be in a Steely Dan tribute band. But then we'd end up playing Reeling in the Years, Rikki Don't Lose That Number, Do it Again and Peg at every gig.

 

People want to hear songs they know, not songs that we think they should hear.

 

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"Hey, everyone plays Kravitz' 'Are You Gonna Go My Way' so let's do that one too!" While 'Mr Cab Driver' was also a big hit and never makes the set lists here.

We used to play "Are You Gonna Go My Way", too, as well as LK's cover of "American Woman". I don't know why nobody does "Fly Away" as that is probably his most recognizable song over here.

 

While I like LK my only exposure to him is through radio. He has 9 studio albums and 49 singles, yet by title I only recognize the three above. If I went to his concert (or a LK tribute concert) I'd be hearing 90+% of the material for the very first time.

 

I'm sure I'd enjoy the show, but compare my experience to someone who owns all of his albums and can sing along to every song he plays (because they've memorized all of the lyrics). They're having a much better time than me.

 

Are there people who know every classic rock song ever released? I'm sure there are. In my experience, though, most people are only deep into a few artists and just know the hits by everyone else.

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"Hey, everyone plays Kravitz' 'Are You Gonna Go My Way' so let's do that one too!" While 'Mr Cab Driver' was also a big hit and never makes the set lists here.

We used to play "Are You Gonna Go My Way", too, as well as LK's cover of "American Woman". I don't know why nobody does "Fly Away" as that is probably his most recognizable song over here.

 

If you're going to cover Lenny Kravitz, why wouldn't you do "Always On The Run"?

 

My point is being made right here. I swear, every cover band in this area only knows "Are You Gonna Go My Way". Already, 4 suggestions have cropped up which are all just as viable candidates - over here, anyway.

 

People want to hear songs they know, not songs that we think they should hear.

 

If you are given a requests list like you mentioned, you know what songs people want to hear. Otherwise, by playing the "overplayed" songs, you are still playing what you think people should hear :)

"I'm a work in progress." Micky Barnes

 

The Ross Brown Shirt World Tour

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During a bout of insomnia the other night, I ended up re-watching part of that history of the Eagles, wherein Glen Frey explains how Randy Meisner quit the band (in part) because he was so sick and tired of singing "Take it to the Limit." Frey tried to explain to Meisner that, for many of their fans, hits like Limit are all they want to hear and that the fans have spent their hard-earned cash to attend the show and goddammit they were going to play Take it to the Limit if it killed them.
"Everyone wants to change the world, but no one thinks of changing themselves." Leo Tolstoy
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They are on the request lists given to us by clients who pay us very well.

 

That, sir, is the major difference; and good on'ya for it. Most of us are not getting much coin at all for playing Brown Eyed Girl.

Things are just the way they are, and they're only going to get worse.

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If you're going to cover Lenny Kravitz, why wouldn't you do "Always On The Run"?

Never heard it, nor of it.

 

"Always On the Run" charted well on US Alternative (#8) but the three I listed and "Let Love Rule" (another song I've never heard) charted higher (#1, #2, #5, #7).

 

But, like I said, I don't follow Kravitz. If we were in a band together and you said that was the Kravitz song to cover I would take your word for it.

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I play a lot of "overplayed" songs at gigs. They are on the request lists given to us by clients who pay us very well. Are we supposed to play the B-sides of those songs instead? Maybe they are b-sides because they are not as good songs.

 

Same situation here. The last two bands were hired specifically because we provided the client with what they wanted.

The comparison ends there, however.

 

The "Society/Corporate" gig had very narrow song choices based on the client's wishes - although they may have 'mis-guessed' the crowds preference.

 

The "Cover/Classic Rock" gig was lead by the singer (local favorite) who was known for throwing in songs that were unexpected.

 

Surely, this is not the Rule, but an exception - and I am grateful for the opportunity.

 

Doesn't really matter to me... Are they dancing/clapping/singing along? If so - then I've done my job. If not - then I need to reconsider...

Jim

Confirmed RoscoeHead

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These are some of the songs that have been just beat to death on the cover scene near me:

 

"Rock & Roll" - Led Zeppelin

"Brown eyed girl" - Van Morrison

"Mustang Sally" - Wilson Pickett

"Pride & Joy" - Stevie Ray Vaughn

"Red House" - Jimi Hendrix

"Sweet home Alabama" - Lynyrd Skynyrd

"Hard to handle" by Otis Redding (ala Black Crowes)

"Sunshine of your love" - Cream

 

What's sad is that when it comes to these artists is that almost ALL of them had other massive hits that these bands could play if they chose to. You don't have to scratch that much beneath the surface to find another song by any of these artists to find a song that's going to go over just as well, if not better.

 

I think that these particular songs have become so engrained in the cover band vernacular that there seems to be a degree of resignation to play these songs. Because invariably someone is going to request them.

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We always play Brown Eyed Girl. The audience always sings along and they always have fun. We also play Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding all the time. I get to whistle on the outro.

 

Once or twice we've butchered Sweet Home Alabama when it was requested and a few times we've played Mustang Sally when we were playing lots and lots of 60's soul and needed another song.

 

I like the way Buddy Guy changed the lyrics to: "I bought you a vintage Mustang", but I can't get our singers to sing that. Most of our audience was born after 1965, so the original lyric makes no sense.

 

As far as the others, there are some on that list that I can't imagine being asked to play. Cream? Hendrix (and not Purple Haze)? Led Zep? Stevie Ray Vaughn? Nobody comes to hear our guitarist (even though he is excellent, but not a rock guitarist). They come to dance.

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I saw Kenny Wayne Shepherd a few years back in NYC. Great show, KWS and the band killed it all night long but by far the biggest bump of the night was when they played the Allman's Midnight Rider. Brought down the house. Entire crown singing along, loud. Huge ovation at the end.

 

See, these classic rock songs are classic for a reason. People love them. They're only "played out" to us.

 

Push the button Frank.
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My list:

 

Mustang Sally

Brown Eyed Girl

Margarittaville

Hard to Handle

Keep Your Hands to Yourself

 

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 don't mind playing some of those old worn out tunes especially at the beginning of the night. As I've mentioned before we don't rehearse anymore so they make good warm up tunes. They are familiar like putting on your favorite worn t-shirt and jeans.

And the crowd still likes them.

 

Now there are some songs that we do that after 20 years of playing them I will occasionally feel like I'm sick to death of playing this. Until I see the crowd enjoying them. Then I don't mind.

 

I'll play along though. I'll add Proud Mary, La Grange, and Taking Care of Business to the list

 

My personal band setlist, I could do without playing Stranglehold for a while.

 

Lydian mode? The only mode I know has the words "pie ala" in front of it.

http://www.myspace.com/theeldoradosband

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Here in the Detroit area, classic rock bands have to do some Seger tunes...fortunately, so many of his songs got massive radio play here that a c-r band could choose from about 30 different songs.

 

David Bowie's kinda a weird default, too - I've heard RnB and hardcore punk bands cover his songs.

 

On topic: "Jumpin' Jack Flash" - no band ever has someone playing the acoustic guitar part on an acoustic,and that song sounds terrible without it.

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I'm pretty tired of playing Boogie Oogie Oogie, We Are Family, and Billie Jean. However, the band sounds really good playing those songs and the audiences like them.

 

One of our singers like to sing Journey songs and I really don't like those songs.

 

However, the songs all have chords, they have basslines, they never did anything bad to me.

 

I don't hate songs, I hate people. :mad:

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