WHAT COVER SONGS SHOULD I LEARN?

d2dadub

Junior Member
I'm coming to a point where I want to begin playing covers again. I have mostly been in original bands for the past 15 years, but I think I want to make a change. Where I live in North Carolina it is real hard to get a following for original music. The cover bands get all the crowds, gigs, and ultimately the money. I want to spend the next few months learning about 100 songs. What is your top 40 list?
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
It depends on what years you are covering songs from.

Cover songs from the 60's and 70's would be different from cover songs from the 80's and 90's.

Here is an easy thing to do.
Check the Billboard top 10 songs for each year you want to cover and learn those songs.


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M

Matt Bo Eder

Guest
Take note what's playing on the radio - that's a good way in to the bands currently doing that kind of work. If you want to do primarily rock 'n' roll, listen to your local classic rock station. Ed Shaugnessy called it "defensive listening", where he was prepared with the new stuff because he took the time to listen to what was popular.
 

Pachikara-Tharakan

Silver Member
Instead of playing just like it is played in the studio recorded version, i would try to come up with a different drumming pattern through out the song or wherever i feel appropriate , just for my own enjoyment...cause there are numerous ways to back up a song instead of steady time keeping.....just my thought.
 

Frank

Gold Member
Get out to the venues with local live cover bands and listen to what they are covering. One of those bands might be your next band.
 

Chollyred

Senior Member
We (were) playing covers of some of the lesser played hits. Mainly southern rock, but some GNR, Dylan, Tom Petty, Mellencamp, etc.

We tried to shy away from the ones that are so over played.

Whatever you choose, make sure a good portion is danceable. Crowds don't want to sit and listen, they want to move!
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
It really depends on what audience you are going for in addition to venue. For example, playing to a buncha hipsters is going to be different than playing in a country bar.

Who would you like to play in front of? What's the scene like in your area?
 

sumdrumguy

Senior Member
Radio has already been mentioned. Most of my local stations have a "Now Playing" type page, that lists songs played in the last 24hrs. The "classic rock", or "hits" stations usually play a good mix of old, and new.

Same thing with working local bands. Find out who is playing the good venues, and see if they have a website. Chances are they have a play list somewhere on their site.

There are a couple of threads on this forum where people shared set lists. I have also searched other musician forums in the past for set list examples.

As others have said, song choice is determined by the venue. If you want to get regular gigs, be open to playing anything - and play it well. I am not a country fan, but I love watching people dance and have a good time when I play it :)
 

tcspears

Gold Member
It depends on what years you are covering songs from.

Cover songs from the 60's and 70's would be different from cover songs from the 80's and 90's.

Here is an easy thing to do.
Check the Billboard top 10 songs for each year you want to cover and learn those songs.


.
This is where I'd start too; find your niche, desired time period and then start digging into what songs were popular.

Another piece of advice is that you could always find a niche or a style that you like and arrange songs to fit that style. I play with a rockabilly group sometimes and they've taken some more modern songs and arranged them to sound like they fit inot a 1950s repetoire. One of the problems with straight cover bands (that I've seen) is that you plateau quickly because you're doing a little bit of everything. If you focus your energy on being a 1960s power trio, and then find and modify material to support that, you'll have a better chance of standing out.
 

Morrisman

Platinum Member
I find that looking at old Billboard lists isn't that useful. Some dreadful songs have made it to number one over the years, while a lot of 'classics' didn't chart very well.

As someone else said, other bands' websits are useful, because they usually have songlists.

Here's a link to a booking agent in Adelaide. Most of these bands have lists of songs, although this is an Australian perspective, so there will be some songs that won't suit your area. You can probably find similar websites in your location.

http://www.vegaspromotions.com.au/bands.html
 
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