Heya there everybody. I want to suggest some songs to play that will get you noticed in all the right ways and that will give your set a bit more of that “classy” and fun edge. This is part of the answer to the age old question of “What should I play at my live shows?”.
If you play live music then I’m sure you put a ton of work into creating your set lists (Right!?). Not all songs are good for every occasion which is why knowing a ton of songs in different genres is so important. A lot of performers ask me how to “find more private party gigs?”, or how to “class up a setlist to be able to play more fancy venues?”. There’s no easy answer to these questions as there are a few different things you need to do to achieve these goals (sounds like a great topic for the future!). One of the best things you can do is to “class up” your set list. What I have noticed is that one particular style seems to trump all the others when trying to do this.
That style of music is Old School R’n’B. Old School R’n’B music is classy, recognizable, upbeat, fun, and most people enjoy it. I’ll give an honourable mention to jazz as playing jazz standards definitely helps to class up a set list. It is a bit more of a niche style though, so we will focus on R’n’B. Songs like “Wonderwall” and “Galway Girl” (and a ton of other songs many of us performers don’t like to play, lol) are always crowd pleasers and thus have their place in our set lists. But if that kind of stuff is all you play you can risk being branded as too “campy”. No offence to people who like and want to play pub gigs but to play in more upscale joints (and book more private parties) it’s great to know some R’n’B. Old school R’n’B is classic and a classic never dies. Wherever I play, I KNOW that “(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding is classy guaranteed crowd pleaser.
Here’s my list of 15 songs you could benefit from including in your performance repertoire (click song names to hear the songs on YouTube. Songs will open in a new window/tab):
- (Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding
- Let’s Stay Together by Al Green
- Sunny by Bobby Hebb
- Mercy, Mercy Me by Marvin Gaye
- Lovely Day by Bill Withers
- My Girl by The Temptations
- Cupid by Sam Cooke
- Under the Boardwalk by The Drifters
- Wonderful World by Same Cooke
- Ain’t Too Proud to Bed by The Temptations
- Sir Duke by Stevie Wonder
- Blame it on the Boogie by Micheal Jackson
- In the Midnight Hour by Wilson Pickett
- September by Earth, Wind, and Fire
- Listen to the Music by the Doobie Brothers
I know that 15 tunes is an ambitious start but it gives you a ton to work on. These songs are a great addition to any night of music. I’ve been told by many of my venues that the customers AND the staff loved how much R’n’B I have in my set list. I’ve even been hired for private parties, over other musicians, for this reason. I know you play a ton of great stuff (stuff I may not yet play and should learn). I know you’re working hard to put on a great show. I just hope this is helpful for you to add some of that fun and soulful “classy” edge to your set.
As always, if you’ve found this helpful than would you please share it on your social media so that others may benefit from it as well!? Also feel free to comment below to add any songs you think I may have missed (or to comment on my list). I appreciate the share and thanks for reading. I’ll have more content coming real soon here at The Music Entrepreneur.
Good luck killing your gigs!
I thought I’d close with one of my favourite Old School R’n’B tunes, enjoy!