Performers who always play the same song

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
I've been learning "Fever", a Peggy Lee tune. You can go on YouTube and see the variations of the song as she ages. It's almost humorous to see her sing a song that's so much more appropriate for a young singer. There are others like this that I can think of "Conga" Gloria Estefan. I'm sure the Eagles played "Hotel California". I guess be careful what you ask for.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
There was this Sade hit that she plays all the time... I can't remember the name of it for the life of me. If only there were something to remind me.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
It's not unusual for an artist/band to play some of their signature hits far into their career, and it's common for those songs to change a bit over time. Consider Neil Diamond, who has probably a dozen must-play songs for each show. Several of his hits haven't evolved too much over the years, and his voice sounds like it did 45 years ago, no key changes for him! But Sweet Caroline picked up a few changes over the years, where the audience participates in "So good, so good, so good" and "Bah bah baaaah..." And of course Neil encourages and conducts them through those parts.

Even my boss plays several classic hits in each show, but did eventually make a change to the venerable Eat It, which we'd played at every show since late 1983. In 2015, it got the 'unplugged' treatment, actually a musical cover of Clapton's unplugged Layla, so it's really a mashup. But the song is still played... gotta give the fans what they want!

Bermuda
 

Mongrel

Silver Member
Trying to figure out if this is a 'bad' thing? lol...

If I go to see someone like Peggy Lee...I better hear "Fever"...and I don't care how old she is...lol.

Depending on your age those songs of your youth will take you back to some pretty wonderful memories etc. Watching my 90 year old father in law out on the dance floor when "In the Mood" is played at a wedding is a treat...

Sade? She only tours every 20 years so it's not like I get tired of hearing it!

(BIG Sade fan btw)
 

basset52

Senior Member
I saw a video of a Rod Stewart interview a couple of years ago. He was asked why he did a lot of his old songs. He was very clear and adamant that in his experience that's what his fans wanted to see/hear - and that is what he was going to provide to his paying customers. I think Keith Richards said a similar thing about the Stones. I do like artists to creatively vary their oldies at times though. My fav is a live version of As Tears Go By by the Stones - it is played with an acoustic and Charlie on the drums. The original had no drum part.
 

Xeno

Member
I seem to remember about 10? years ago Bon Jovi had changed the melodies and arrangements in most of their hits. Which caused fans to leave concerts in droves.
I think you have to play the songs that got you were you are. Go ahead and play a bunch of new stuff but stick to the favorites. I saw Rush on their Snakes and Arrows tour. Was an amazing 2+ hour show with no opening act but was disappointed that they left out The Trees and Red Barchetta, as were a lot of other fans.
Funny, you can play a blistering 2 hour set but leave out a couple of songs that fans expect to hear and that's all they talk about.
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
The old saying play what people want to hear and you'll never be short of work comes to mind.

Saw Iron Maiden on in 06 on the Matter of Life and Death tour where they played the whole album in it's entirety. It was crap, flat atmosphere, people pay to hear them play the 80s stuff.

They did the album plus about 4 of the classics and buggered off. I felt ripped off! When I'd seen them before on other album tours it was amazing.

On the other hand I saw Carole King last year do Tapestry in its entirety at Hyde Park and it was one of the best gigs I've ever seen.
 

whiteknightx

Silver Member
Van Morrison is kind of known for never playing a song exactly the same way twice, and his voice has really changed over the years - Brown Eyed Girl came out in 67 - 50! years ago. He is one that is kind of known be a cantankerous old bastard and wouldn't perform it for years and will build a set list on whatever his whims are at the time. I saw him live years ago, and it was a fantastic show, but also somewhat disappointing at the same time.

If I go to see a different band, I want to see them perform the big ones. If I went to see the Stones, and they only performed their new album, I'd be pissed. I'd be be pissed at that Maiden show mentioned above.

I totally understand being bored of playing the same songs for 50 years, but they should be glad they get to play for fans who want to see them. Or if you are doing something else, make sure you advertise it that way.
 

SquadLeader

Gold Member
The old saying play what people want to hear and you'll never be short of work comes to mind.

Saw Iron Maiden on in 06 on the Matter of Life and Death tour where they played the whole album in it's entirety. It was crap, flat atmosphere, people pay to hear them play the 80s stuff.

They did the album plus about 4 of the classics and buggered off. I felt ripped off! When I'd seen them before on other album tours it was amazing.

On the other hand I saw Carole King last year do Tapestry in its entirety at Hyde Park and it was one of the best gigs I've ever seen.
Same tour, saw them in Manchester. Very disappointed. They never even played Run to The Hills...absurd

Guys in the bogs after were raving about them of course but I detected an element of no one dared be critical. I just turned to my mate and said "well that was shit". He said "yup". Then a load of people at the urinals dove in with "yup...yup....aye....no RTTHs.....No classics....."etc.

Very strange.
 

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
I do like it when performers come up with new songs that are essentially revamped versions of there hits, and it sort of becomes a style. I think Gloria Estefan has several that are more or less "Conga".
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
Same tour, saw them in Manchester. Very disappointed. They never even played Run to The Hills...absurd

Guys in the bogs after were raving about them of course but I detected an element of no one dared be critical. I just turned to my mate and said "well that was shit". He said "yup". Then a load of people at the urinals dove in with "yup...yup....aye....no RTTHs.....No classics....."etc.

Very strange.
Same reaction we had, my mate had never seen them live and I'd spent months blowing smoke up maidens arse telling him how good they were live.

Stranger still was they did Donnington the following summer which was supposed to be 25th anniversary on NOTB and they played half of a matter of Life and Death with all the other standards from NOTB.

You could hear the crowd getting bored. It was like Spinal Tap where they start playing free form jazz to a festival audience but it wasn't funny!
 

eclipseownzu

Gold Member
Went with a girlfriend to see Counting Crows (ahh, the things you do for love). I didn't recognize any of the songs. At the end she was so happy about how he changed the melodies of the songs, she said it was like hearing them again for the first time. I didn't realize that they had played all of the "hits", the dude just changed the melodies and without knowing any of the lyrics I had no idea. It was crazy. All the diehard fans loved it, and the rest of us where just standing there watching this guy drone on through an hour of unmelodic douchebaggery.
 

whiteknightx

Silver Member
that's true Counting Crows are known for moving the arrangements around quite a bit. I like the band so I don't mind, but I get it if you weren't a fan.

it's the same as all movie trailers these days have to have an 80's song played at 1/4 speed to seem eerie or whatever. Cool the first few times but then, ughh.
 

MJD

Silver Member
Paul McCartney is a sterling example of this. But he also is constantly coming out with new stuff and seems to find a vey good balance between playing the new stuff and playing the old stuff. That's key i think. An artist always wants to keep moving forward and take their audience with them but audiences still want to hear the songs that made them fall in love with the artist's work in the first place.Doing a bit of both can lead to a long successful career. The hard part is finding the right balance
 

81MC

Member
Even my boss plays... Eat It, which we'd played at every show since late 1983
You drum for Weird Al? Pretty awesome to have professionals like you on this board.

On topic, it's really nice to hear some familiar tunes mixed in with new stuff. If you bring a date along, its nice if there is at least one tune they can recognise to keep them interested.
 

Les Ismore

Platinum Member
Here's what I tell people about giving me attitude when Im playing in a cover band, or when other musicians lament about songs Im playing not being 'original'.

If you went to see say Eric Clapton, or Aerosmith, or Journey, or Pearl Jam etc. and they played none of their hits (all their B stuff), you'd probably walk out, it'd be a boring show.


'Original' means a sound. I've seen/heard so many bands/ppl doing (what they call) their 'original' music and think (and sometimes even say to them) this isn't original at all, heard it before, your lyrics may be original, but the chords and progression has been done already. The blues genera is a strong example... how many times have you listened to the local Johnny Thrasher's new blues song and heard the same 1-4-5 shuffle in A and it sounded embarrassing? Not putting down a 1-4-5 shuffle, but the only thing thing that's going to set it apart is a unique-'original' sound, which is way too uncommon.


Who's version of 'Superstition' was a bigger hit, Jeff Beck's, or Stevie Wonders? I don't think Stevie ever recorded 'Tell Me Something Good' probably because it was done better than (or at least as good as) he could'a done it.
 
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