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10 Songs to Avoid when Singing Karaoke

The world of karaoke is full of cautionary tales. Some will tell you to avoid Journey or Bon Jovi or the cheesy karaoke bar staple, “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond (wherein the crowd adds a very meaningful duh-duh-duhhhh after the title line).

But these songs are classics for a reason.  Plenty of people can hit those notes and, should they fall a bit short during the bridge or after the key change, the crowd is almost certain to help out with backing vocals.

However, after many years gracing the finest and the seediest karaoke establishments, it has become clear that some songs should be erased from the songbooks.  Here are the top 10 songs to avoid at karaoke:


1. “It’s the End of the World as we Know it” by R.E.M. Fun song? Sure! Easy to sing to? Nope!  It’s almost impossible, actually. I’m no scientist, but I would guess that 99.9% of the population can only sing the chorus, and random lines here and there, even if their lives depended on accuracy.  R.E.M. may stand for rapid eye movement, but nobody’s eyes can read these lyrics fast enough.  Which leads us to:

2. “Rapper’s Delight” by the Sugarhill Gang.  This falls under the same category as Sir Mix-a-Lot’s booty-centric epic “Baby Got Back”.  We all know and love the opening verse or two.  It’s the other several minutes of mumbling through the lightning-speed lyrics that disappoint.

3. “Me and Bobby McGee” by Janis Joplin. Man, is this a great song.  And a lot of people get the beginning down perfectly. It’s the ending that trips everyone up – of course, it doesn’t help when the lyrics look like this: “Na na na na… Hey now Bobby now, Bobby McGee, yeah… Yeah! Whew!”

4. “Summer Nights” from Grease. This is a duet, and that only works when both parties are equally pumped. Unfortunately, I’ve never met a man who doesn’t regret this song choice as soon as he takes the stage.

5. “Blue” by Eiffel 65. You might be thinking, isn’t that the song that repeats, “I’m blue, da ba dee da ba die” over and over?  And you would be correct. This song isn’t just a product of your nightmares; it actually existed as a popular single in 2000.  One can only assume that it then made its way onto the karaoke songbooks as a cruel joke.

6. “Lady Marmalade”. It doesn’t matter whether you sing the original by Labelle or the cover from the Moulin Rouge! soundtrack – this song has 4 different parts going. Likewise, you can headbang to “Bohemian Rhapsody” in you car like everyone else, but there’s no need to subject a bar to this train wreck.

7. “Hotel California” by The Eagles. Just like “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns N’ Roses, this song has the ability to take a room full of happy, shiny karaoke enthusiasts and make each and every one depressed — for almost 7 minutes.

8. “Wind Beneath my Wings” by Bette Midler. If you secretly like this song, there is no judgment here. Everyone is entitled to croon to a 90s ballad every now and then.  However, I have seen this song empty a bar not once, but twice. And if it hadn’t been my very close friend on the stage singing this song, I would have been out the door, too.

9. “American Pie” by Don McLean. This masterpiece may begin well, but it’s very difficult to hold a room’s attention for 9 minutes – especially when the lyrics gradually become more pessimistic. Spoiler alert: This story has a sad ending!

10. “Friends in Low Places” by Garth Brooks. I take back what I said earlier about a song being overplayed. I will have this song stuck in my head forever at the rate I see it performed at karaoke.  Why not pick another Garth Brooks song? There’s usually an entire page in the songbooks.


In the end, what’s really important is that you stand behind whatever song you choose, get on the stage, and rock it!


Written By: Micki Grover

Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Originally posted 2015-11-04 21:07:33.