Must Haves in a Set List


Silver Member
I'd be interested to see what people think are MUST HAVE songs in a set list for a band mainly doing pub gigs taking into account the range of ages that may be in there and songs that haven't been totally overkilled.
We're a 3 piece guitar / vocalist, drums and bass at the moment but looking to get a female vocalist as well and a lead guitarist at some stage so open to things we can do straight off as well as ones for when we pick up the other band members.


Junior Member
These are in danger of being played-out, but they still get a huge crowd response at bars/pubs:
Neil Diamond - Sweet Caroline
Lit - My Own Worst Enemy
Violent Femmes - Blister in the Sun
The Clash - Should I Stay or Should I Go
Sublime - Santeria

Those are really popular and always get a good response. These ones are more obscure (some not by much) and work really well, too:
The Toadies - Possum Kingdom
Rick Springfield - Jesse's Girl (the ladies love this one)
Jet - Are You Gonna Be My Girl
Rancid - Ruby Soho
Counting Crows - Mr. Jones
Harvey Danger - Flagpole Sitta
Pepper - Give It Up


Silver Member
Style? That really matters...
To a degree, open to different things, I think a great song is a great song, I've just seen the comment below this one and it mentions Sweet Caroline, I NEVER would have thought of it and I'm sitting here and thinking yeah that at 11.00pm and with a few drinks inside them there'd be an awful lot of people screaming it out at the top of their voices and could really work.
Pop / Rock is main target for pub audiences and Led Zep / The Who through to more recent Pink / Kings of Leon and anything in between that the majority of people will get into.


Silver Member
Just thought I'd add this as well, personally my own musical taste is extremely wide and diverse from Black Sabbath to Barbara Streisand and some classical as well so I guess I'm looking to see what other people would perceive as great songs that haven't been overkilled.


I play in a 70s/80s cover band. Some songs that always go over very well:
Bon Jovi - Living on a Prayer
Journey - Don't Stop Believing
AC/DC - You Shook Me All Night Long
Def Leppard - Pour Some Sugar On Me
Guns N Roses - Sweet Child of Mine
Ozzy Osbourne - Crazy Train
Neil Young - Rockin in the Free World

Depending on the venue/crowd, your mileage may vary. We usually play for a slightly older crowd, as opposed to a college crowd. Also these songs probably won't sound good in a small bar/restaurant/coffee shop since you won't be able to play them at a volume that will do them justice.


Platinum Member
if you're looking for ideas, i can tell you a few songs we do. we have a female lead vocalist:

every breath you take - the police
i feel good - james brown
lovin', touchin', squeezin' - journey
dream - fleetwood mac
you can go your own way - fleetwood mac
rock and roll - led zeppelin
babe i'm gonna leave you - led zeppelin
lady marmalade - la belle
dream on - aerosmith
pride and joy - stevey ray vaughan
let it be - the beatles

we also do some of the songs already mentioned. i know a lot of these songs are badly overplayed, but you wouldn't believe the response we get to some of them! it's almost like the more overplayed a song is, the more people yell and scream and dance.

Pocket Groove11

Junior Member
The Ocean- Zepplin
Foxey Lady-Jimi Hendrix
Good Times Bad Times-Led Zepplin
My Name is jonas-Weezer
Magic Bus-Who

And I guess anything really conisdered classic. But also dont only play "must haves" in your set. Throw in some originals or obscure covers.


Silver Member
Journey - Don't Stop Believin'
Bon Jovi - Livin' on a Prayer
Offspring - Come Out and Play
Drowning Pool - Bodies
Rage Against the Machine - Bulls on Parade
Green Day - American Idiot
Steve Miller - The Joker

The list goes on...