What is the next generation of bar songs? Mustang Sally of tomorrow?

Devils Haircut

Senior Member
When I got my first steady paying gig ten years ago, I was 19. I snuck into a bar and sat in with the blues/jazz/bar-tune band and was hired that night since they were multi-instrumentalists who took turns covering the drum duties. They were all in their 40's or 50's and we played everything from funky versions of jazz standards to the typical mustang sally, soul shine, and gloria. I've always liked music that was "before my time" and have no idea what the new bar songs will be. But I hooked up with a 90's cover project that plays some Weezer, "Closing Time" by Semisonic, "Sex and Candy" by Marcy Playground, and a few other 90's Top-40 tunes and one-hit-wonders. Are we the next generation of bar band music? It actually makes me kind of sad because I like the older stuff and the new music I like never really ends up on the radio.

Will we never again hear the drunken war cry of "Play some Skynrd!!!' or "FREE BIRD!"? Will Sally never again ride?
 

larryz

Platinum Member
Haha funny topic. My only talent is spelling, hence it's spelled "Skynyrd" !! Toughest band name to spell hands down :)

I'm of the opinion that Mustang Sally would not be missed by anyone if it was never played again. Not that it's my favorite song by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers (The Waiting is...), but I'd say his "Last Dance With Mary Jane" would take the cake. But that song is even 15 years old???
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Hmm. Tough question. Standards are standards and I'm willing to bet we'll still be hearing Mustang Sally and other older songs. I think it depends - right now, the money-paying patrons tend to dictate what gets played. So, until an entire population who think Mustang Sally and Unchained Melody is the bees knees die off, bands will always be playing them. I'm not sure there would be anything really new to take their places, though. As we complain about the newer music just not having it like the older stuff, I'm finding out more frequently that it's true. Other than Nirvana and the Macarena, I don't really remember anything special coming out of the '90s. I mean, it's a different generation too - it's the random access generation with cell phones and iPods - there are alot of bands still out there cranking out music, but who's buying the CDs? Who's really listening like you used to when you had to buy an entire album of music? I'm not saying it's sad, it's just different. Music has to compete with so many other things kids are into these days too.
 

Devils Haircut

Senior Member
Haha funny topic. My only talent is spelling, hence it's spelled "Skynyrd" !! Toughest band name to spell hands down :)

I'm of the opinion that Mustang Sally would not be missed by anyone if it was never played again. Not that it's my favorite song by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers (The Waiting is...), but I'd say his "Last Dance With Mary Jane" would take the cake. But that song is even 15 years old???
Haha, maybe I spelled it in the form of a drunk man's rambling.

Mustang Sally will NOT be missed by gigging musicians...I'd bet money on that.

And funny thing is, we just added Last Dance with Mary Jane! Guitar player just kills with a harp strapped to his face (even if he looks like a nerd wearing dental headgear).
 

Duckenheimer

Senior Member
Where I live the current generation of bar songs seems to be the big anthems of mainly 90s grunge like Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam, and some Chili Peppers and Radiohead. On a wider scale, can there even be another Mustang Sally?
 

Devils Haircut

Senior Member
Hmm. Tough question. Standards are standards and I'm willing to bet we'll still be hearing Mustang Sally and other older songs. I think it depends - right now, the money-paying patrons tend to dictate what gets played. So, until an entire population who think Mustang Sally and Unchained Melody is the bees knees die off, bands will always be playing them. I'm not sure there would be anything really new to take their places, though. As we complain about the newer music just not having it like the older stuff, I'm finding out more frequently that it's true. Other than Nirvana and the Macarena, I don't really remember anything special coming out of the '90s. I mean, it's a different generation too - it's the random access generation with cell phones and iPods - there are alot of bands still out there cranking out music, but who's buying the CDs? Who's really listening like you used to when you had to buy an entire album of music? I'm not saying it's sad, it's just different. Music has to compete with so many other things kids are into these days too.
I agree. But I live in a college town with a military base. So the bar crowd is a little younger. Even though I was a teen in the 90's, I listened to older music. Now I listen to a lot of new indie rock, but that may just be me clinging to youth as I'm 12 months from 30. It seems like over the top 80's cover bands in glam rock outfits make the most money around here. Maybe I over looked the 80's, but I'm not a huge fan of that decade.

Another fact to consider (and you briefly hit on it) is that with instant access to music, there really are no more HUGE bands that can hold main stream attention for a decade or more. More exposure for so many bands means that no one stays on top as long.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Maybe it's more an American thing? I can't answer the question in the OP but I've heard very few covers of Mustang Sally and Brown Eyed Girl by anyone over the years and I have never personally gigged those songs.

I used to see a lot of blues and jazz gigs and I've heard a fair few covers of Stormy Monday. In the jazz clubs it used to drive me crazy when the band would say the next song as Misty and everyone would go "Awwww", as though they'd just brought a cute little kitten on stage. Meanwhile I do an inner facepalm.
 

Devils Haircut

Senior Member
Maybe it's more an American thing? I can't answer the question in the OP but I've heard very few covers of Mustang Sally and Brown Eyed Girl by anyone over the years and I have never personally gigged those songs.

I used to see a lot of blues and jazz gigs and I've heard a fair few covers of Stormy Monday. In the jazz clubs it used to drive me crazy when the band would say the next song as Misty and everyone would go "Awwww", as though they'd just brought a cute little kitten on stage. Meanwhile I do an inner facepalm.
I thought you guys only played Men At Work in the bars down there.?.?.?.?... ;)
 
D

Doctor Dirt

Guest
My problem with so-called bar standards is that most bands play them poorly if not wrong. Mustang is rarely played like Pickett and Cropper and the boys wrote it. Instead its actually the Young Rascals version that often played using some little guitar riff that Gene played in their version. The original is Wilson Pickett with Booker T and the MG's and that can't be corny but it often is when played by corny white bread musicians. The reason its a classic bar room song is to play the way Pickett did and stop the second time around and have your dance floor sing the chorus then stop the band so its just them on the reply and simply play it right!! Do you realize that its Alan Jackson Jr. on drums the best drummer/arrainger/engineer/band leader there ever was??? I didn't think so!! Doc
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
but I've heard very few covers of Mustang Sally and Brown Eyed Girl by anyone over the years and I have never personally gigged those songs.
Must be a Sydney thing Pol. I've both played them and heard them played relentlessly over the years. Strangely, neither fell into my list of "most hated/overdone"....that little gem was always reserved for Run To Paradise (for the outside of Oz, for reasons known only to the punters, it always featured highly on the most requested list). If I never hear it again, it'll be too soon.

I thought you guys only played Men At Work in the bars down there.?.?.?.?... ;)
Never played Land Downunder, however.
 

Devils Haircut

Senior Member
My problem with so-called bar standards is that most bands play them poorly if not wrong. Mustang is rarely played like Pickett and Cropper and the boys wrote it. Instead its actually the Young Rascals version that often played using some little guitar riff that Gene played in their version. The original is Wilson Pickett with Booker T and the MG's and that can't be corny but it often is when played by corny white bread musicians. The reason its a classic bar room song is to play the way Pickett did and stop the second time around and have your dance floor sing the chorus then stop the band so its just them on the reply and simply play it right!! Do you realize that its Alan Jackson Jr. on drums the best drummer/arrainger/engineer/band leader there ever was??? I didn't think so!! Doc
Aside from breaking the rules of music theory (and even that could be considered artistically subjective) there really is no "playing it wrong". It may not be played to your tastes, but what makes your taste "right"?
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I agree. But I live in a college town with a military base. So the bar crowd is a little younger. Even though I was a teen in the 90's, I listened to older music. Now I listen to a lot of new indie rock, but that may just be me clinging to youth as I'm 12 months from 30. It seems like over the top 80's cover bands in glam rock outfits make the most money around here. Maybe I over looked the 80's, but I'm not a huge fan of that decade.

Another fact to consider (and you briefly hit on it) is that with instant access to music, there really are no more HUGE bands that can hold main stream attention for a decade or more. More exposure for so many bands means that no one stays on top as long.
Yeah, I like to thank the Steve Jobs generation for actually giving all these musicians their fifteen minutes of fame ;)

Even here in SoCal, '80s bands are hitting pretty good. Because it's our version of our parent's oldies era. In the 70s when disco hit, Sha Na Na had a tv show. Now the 80s get their turn - hell, you can see the likes of Rick Springfield, and even Heart from the 70s playing at state fairs. Tears for Fears just did this dumpy little casino up in central California close to Yosemite....but the real reason those types of era bands do ok is because that generation has the money now. The 90s will get its turn as soon as all those people grow up and assimilate into society and pine for the good ol' days.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Must be a Sydney thing Pol. I've both played them and heard them played relentlessly over the years. Strangely, neither fell into my list of "most hated/overdone"....that little gem was always reserved for Run To Paradise (for the outside of Oz, for reasons known only to the punters, it always featured highly on the most requested list). If I never hear it again, it'll be too soon.

Never played Land Downunder, however.
The cover that seemed most overdone was My Girl here, PFOG. Or maybe it was the most annoying?

I can't even imagine a band playing covering Downunder. Hard to imagine anything tackier.
 

drummerjims

Senior Member
I think that music has a 40 year period before the music is only liked by some. However in that 40 year period it only gets better with age.

I have been thinking about this a lot recently and what tipped me off was when I recently heard an Avril Lavigne song on the radio. I said wow this song is a lot better than it was when it came out. This could be due to the fact that music is getting worse over time so bad music that was made 10 years ago no longer sounds bad. But I'm Not really sure.

I also look at this in the way that the 50's music is no longer as popular as it once was (hence the 40 year thing) But you still have a few people that really grasp on to that music ans some that go further back.

However all of this said I think there are some songs that will always be standards like Last Dance with Mary Jane. Just as jazz standards carry on.

I thought you guys only played Men At Work in the bars down there.?.?.?.?... ;)
I have played some Men at work at a few gigs. Specifically "Who Can It be Now?" It's a fun song to play. Also If anyone is looking for a fun song to cover My favorite cover that I have done is "Most Likely You Go Your Way and I'll Go Mine" By Bob Dylan.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
I think there's a certain window in which a hit song cannot yet be called a standard in the way that Mustang Sally et al have filled that bill. Then again, I was already playing Mustang Sally, Midnight Hour and Jumpin Jack Flash in cover bands in the '70s, so perhaps some songs are instant classics? I can't think of anything very recent that might already be considered a classic, but if we go back just 25-30 years, those songs are starting to become common in cover bands. Jenny (867-5309), Hurts So Good, What I Like About You, I Love Rock & Roll, etc.

And with all due respect to the '70s, there's plenty of Creedence, Boston, Badfinger, Styx, etc to go around.

Every decade/generation has songs that are popular and hold up well with bands & audiences, but I think the 25 year rule is also in place at any given time. We won't really know what songs today are classic for a while.

Bermuda
 

inneedofgrace

Platinum Member
Out of the songs mentioned so far in this thread, my band plays:

Jumping Jack Flash
Stormy Monday
Jenny
Mustang Sally
Brown Eyed Girl

Interestingly, we play 3 songs by Tom Petty, but not Mary Jane:

Learning to Fly
American Girl
Listen to Her Heart

My old band plays a mix of newer stuff like:

I'll Melt With You
Walk Like an Egyptian
The Humpty Dance

Speaking of CCR, we also play Bad Moon Rising and it seems to go over well. I'd like to play their version of Heard it Through the Grapevine and also Down on the Corner.

I would think Styx would be pretty difficult to replicate, especially the vocals. Does anyone play any of their songs?

And regarding Boston, I heard a guy attempt to sing More Than a Feeling at karaoke the other night. It was the most horrible singing performance I can remember in a long time. My ears were bleeding by the end. Then again, very few people can sing like Brad Delp.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Out of the songs mentioned so far in this thread, my band plays:

Jumping Jack Flash
Stormy Monday
Jenny
Mustang Sally
Brown Eyed Girl
Ah, lots of hoary old standards. My band likes to mess with the hoariest of hoary standards ...

Summertime
Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood
Sunshine of Your Love
I Put a Spell on You
The Thrill is Gone
Cry Me a River
Broadway
Preacher Man
Little Wing
Moondance
I Can't Stand the Rain

If I had any pride I'd be embarrassed :)
 
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