What Songs Do Audiences React Best To ?


I'm in an all original band & we are looking to add a few cover tunes. Looking for the songs that really get the audiences excited ( like when bands play "Sweet Caroline" by Neil Diamond ) or the songs that get everyone on the dance floor.
What songs have you noticed get the best crowd reaction at your gigs?


Platinum Member
Depends a lot on the age of the crowd, and the mood they’re in.
My large ‘party’ band plays mostly to over 50’s, and they love 70’s and 80’s songs they can sing along with or have a crowd response like Sweet Caroline (bom bom bom) , Love Shack (tin roof, rusted), Hey Mickey, Celebration (woo-hoo), Gimme no lines and keep your hands to yourself, Its not unusual, Uptown Funk, Hotel California, Sweet home Alabama, and here in Australia they sing along with Khe Sanh, When the War is over and Long way to the top.

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
You can thank me later for this short list.

Under the Broadwalk

Tennessee Whiskey


Play That Funky Music

Purple Rain

Let’s Get It On - by Marvin Gaye

Bad Ba Leroy Brown

Mustang Sally

You Make Me Wanna Shout



Well-known member
Hire a piano man and play some Billy Joel. Wins in every situation.


Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
I addition to Jim's list:

Brown Eyed Girl
asstd. Stones songs (Jumpin Jack Flash, Brown Sugar, Honky Tonk Woman, Satisfaction, etc.)
asstd. Bowie (Rebel Rebel, Suffragette City, Let's Dance, etc.)
early Beatles uptempo songs (I Saw Her Standing There, etc.)
asstd. Creedence (Proud Mary, Fortunate Sun, etc.)
Pride and Joy
Old Time Rock & Roll
asstd. Motown & '60s R&B (Chain Of Fools, Midnight Hour, Grapevine, etc)
asstd. rock oldies (Born To Be Wild, etc.)
asstd. '80s/New Wave (My Sharona, I Love Rock & Roll, What I Like About You, etc.)
asstd. popular 'disco' (KC & the Sunshine Band, Bee Gees, Donna Summer, etc.)

There are hundreds of suitable songs that dancers of any age like to dance to.



Senior Member
In addition to the ones listed above:

Jessie’s Girl
Your Love
Rock and Roll
Free Fallin’


Silver Member
Long Train Running - Doobie Brothers ; it works all the time, whatever the audience age.


Well-known member
4/4 time, Verse / Chorus / Verse / Chorus / Bridge / Chorus

^^^ Lol... The perfect answer!!

I think it depends on your audience in the first place. What genre are they there for? Country has their own bag & rock/pop has their own.

When I was playing weddings / private parties, etc.. pretty much anything from the motown, some 70's and 80's rock. When disco made it's way into the lineup and became some of the crowd 'favorite' - I knew it was time to leave it.


Well-known member
depends on the genre and the crowd to....if my original bands played any of the listed songs at a show, we would get ran out of the venue...


Senior Member
One of the top songs I think is Footloose. We don't do it (I really don't like it that much) but I've seen what happens when other bands do it. I'd like to gamble on taking it up a notch and do Workin for the Weekend. It's on the list to learn.


Junior Member
There are 2 songs which never fail to get bodies on the dance floor.......no matter what age, these 2 songs absolutely go off...big time!

1) Wipeout by the Surfaris

2) Hate Everything About You by Ugly Kid Joe.

The crowds over here go totally bananas when we played them.


Senior Member
Depeche Mode - Personal Jesus
The Clash - Should I Stay or Should I Go
Talking Heads - Psycho Killer

To name just 3

No Way Jose

Silver Member

In my experience nothing gets the audience excited like old Chuck Berry style rock and roll.


Gold Member
Play songs people can dance too . Forget songs that show off your skills as a musician that don’t make people dance .
As stated earlier :
Songs by the Beatles or the Stones are always good choices .
Creedance Clearwater Revival gets people up .
Some songs that work for us :
I’m a believer by the Monkees
500 miles - The Proclaimers
These boots were made for walking - Nancy Sinatra
Folsom Prison Blues - Johnny Cash


Gold Member
As a general guide, just keep in mind the old American Bandstand Standard For A Great Song:

"It's gotta' good beat, and it's easy to dance to!"



"Uncle Larry"
Here's some that work near Phila.

George Michael's "Faith"

Prince songs

Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama"

The Monkees "I'm a Believer" and "(I'm Not Your) Stepping Stone"

Johnny Cash stuff

Dion's "Runaround Sue"