While the food you serve, what you wear, and who makes the coveted guest list are all important parts of any event, they all pale in comparison to one thing:
The tunes you choose to play, whether you’re celebrating a wedding, an anniversary, or even hosting the office Christmas party, can truly make or break your event.
Once you’ve hired the right party band, you’ll need to start thinking about the best cover songs you want them to play.
Of course, you want to be sure you select songs everyone knows so that more people will let loose, sing along, and get out on the dance floor.
Read on to learn which cover songs definitely belong on any setlist.
1. Little Richard, “Good Golly, Miss Molly”
If you’re looking for a high-energy song that starts the night off right, it’s tough to go wrong choosing anything by Little Richard.
“Good Golly, Miss Molly” is definitely his most covered song, and thanks to its fast tempo that encourages the best dancers in the house to show off their moves, it’s not hard to see why.
This song is a great way to let people know that the dancing portion of the evening has officially begun.
2. Aretha Franklin, “Respect”
Every event needs songs that everyone knows—but that especially let the women in the room let out their frustration.
No song does it quite as well as Aretha Franklin’s iconic “Respect.”
This is an awesome song to play at weddings, as it pretty much guarantees that all the bridesmaids will get to the center of the dance floor and surround the bride. Plus, they can playfully take out their frustrations on the groomsmen, which is often fun for guests to watch.
The song has also gained a reputation as a human right’s anthem, so it’s also a smart move to play it at non-profit fundraisers and even political gatherings.
3. Lady Gaga, “Bad Romance”
If you’re looking for the best cover songs that younger members of the audience will definitely know all the words to, then make sure to include Gaga’s “Bad Romance” in your setlist.
Playing this hit song also gives you the chance to pass the microphone around to the audience, letting them sing out the classic lyric, “I don’t wanna be friends.”
4. The Village People, “YMCA”
Not only is “YMCA” one of the most-loved and best cover songs around, but it also comes with dance moves that even your guests with two left feet will be able to pull off.
It’s a great song to play at an event where everyone may not know each other super well, as joining everyone to dance to a familiar song creates an atmosphere of camaraderie.
Plus, the “YMCA” dance moves are much less played out than the “Macarena.”
5. Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk”
Another more recent addition to the to list of songs that everyone knows is “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars.
Its old school beat with fresh lyrics (like “Smoother than a fresh jar of Skippy”) will put a smile on everyone’s faces.
Especially after his incredible performance at the Super Bowl halftime show in 2014, Bruno Mars has quickly become a household name—and this song, in particular, is a great crowdpleaser.
6. The Commodores, “Brick House”
No matter the occasion, everyone loves showing off their stuff to “Brick House.”
The term is actually an old 70s slang phrase designed to praise curvier, voluptuous women—meaning it’s perfect for a body-positive clothing line release party.
The song lets people get a little slinky on the dance floor, so make sure you get your video camera ready to capture all the awesome moves on film.
7. The Isley Brothers, “Shout”
Let’s put it simply: if you don’t play “Shout” at your event, pretty much everyone will miss its presence.
When the band first strikes up that tell-tale “Well” that begins the song, people absolutely lose their minds. Even people who haven’t gotten up to dance all evening suddenly race to the dance floor.
Especially if you feel like the energy at your event is beginning to fade, give the band the signal to start playing “Shout” and watch what happens.
Everyone always loves to watch the older people in the room get down on the ground during the “a little bit softer now” sections. It’s a joyful, classic song that everyone knows and loves.
8. Journey, “Don’t Stop Believin'”
You knew this was coming. After all, no list of songs everyone knows would be complete without a mention of this iconic number.
“Don’t Stop Believin'” is the perfect way to close out any kind of party, whether it’s a wedding, a retirement fiesta, or even a debutante ball.
Not only will this classic jam have everyone on the dance floor and singing (more like screaming, really) along with the lyrics. It’s also a well-recognized sign that guests need to start gathering their things and preparing to go home.
Find the Right Band to Play Some of the Best Cover Songs
Now that you know the best cover songs that will work for any occasion, you need to focus on making sure you hire the best possible live bands.
After all, even “Don’t Stop Believin'” becomes hard to enjoy if the entertainers are missing notes and singing off-key!
Rely on our incredible performers to play masterful live performances of these songs and more at your next event.
We even offer event planning services that will help you to pull off any kind of event without a hitch.
When you’re ready to throw a party that no one will be able to stop talking about, reach out to us to start making it happen.
We look forward to celebrating with you.