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80s tune suggestions please

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Reedt2000, Jul 9, 2017.

  1. Reedt2000

    Reedt2000 Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2017
    Central New Jersey
    I play in an 80s cover band and several of the other band members have expressed a need for some fresh material (I just joined a few months ago so its all kinds fresh for me). The band is drums, bass, electric guitar, 2-acoustic guitars playing rhythm, and four of us sing lead or harmonies (no keyboards! GHASP! We don't obsess about exactly replicating the original tune. The lead player is great about imitating keyboard parts and tones).

    One of the singers/rhythm gutarists is the "band leader" (he put the band together and handles most of the booking) and he tends to bring in tunes that, while I might think they're cool, are not stuff that I would expect an audience to be thrilled about. For example the band plays "don't tell me you love me" by night ranger. It's kinda rockin and the lead guitarist shreds the solo but I dont know how much an audience wants to hear it. He just suggested "mother" by Danzig which is nostalgic for me, but again I'm not sure if your average bar crowd or festival goer (the two kinds of gigs we play the most of) will respond.

    We play a bunch of 80s standards like Jenny, Rio, Jessies Girl, I melt with you, down under, take on me, summer of 69, and others, but there are also a bunch of sorta obscure harder rock tunes. I know from other threads that there are a bunch of TBers in 80s band so I figured it be a good place for suggestions. What are the 80s tunes the masses respond to best? We play the central Jersey scene more often than not if that helps define our typical audiences.

    I ask you to please just give a song title and artist name (lists are fine).

    Please don't attach videos on the interest of page load times.

    Thanks for the help y'all!
  2. IMHO, Cover Band + Sorta Obscure Tunes = Not a Good Idea

    Some 80s harder rock tunes that were still fairly broadly popular...maybe Judas Priest, Ratt, Scorpions, Triumph. An "obscure" (if you must) group, that would be obscure depending on whether their brief national exposure/popularity reached your area, might be Kix.

    I don't know that I've ever seen a band play an April Wine song, which I think could be cool (but there could be a good reason for that :p)...but the "better" to cover IMO songs between their 1979 and 1981 come from the 1979 album, which was released 2 months before 1980 (depending on how much of sticklers you're being about '80s)

    Oh, and you might include your band's playlist, so you don't have people suggesting songs that you already play. For example, My Sharona might be considered to corny even for some '80s bands, but it can go over well, and it actually has a 2+ minute guitar solo that's pretty cool...don't know if it's already on your list.
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2017
    Marley's Ghost likes this.
  3. Reedt2000

    Reedt2000 Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2017
    Central New Jersey
    Yeah I agree that cover tunes are for an audience and typical audiences aren't into obscure stuff. I didn't include a songlist cause if people do suggest things we already play it's just a sign that we're on the right track with some selections. Thanks for being the first to respond!
  4. Mike N

    Mike N Missing the old TB Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2001
    Spencerport, New York
    We did that song in my old band (circa 2002) and it went over very well.
  5. chunkylover73


    Feb 1, 2009
    Here are a few that we do:

    Twisted Sister - We're Not Gonna Take It
    Poison - Talk Dirty to Me
    Motley Crue - Smokin in the Boys Room
    Def Leppard - Pour Some Sugar on Me
    Robert Palmer - Bad Case of Loving You
    Billy Joel - You May Be Right
    Billy Idol - Rebel Yell
    Georgia Satellites - Keep Your Hands to Yourself
    Bryan Adams - Summer of 69
    Streetheart - Snow White
    Tom Petty - Apartment Song
    John Mellencamp - Authority Song
    John Fogarty - Centerfield
    Cheap Trick - Want You to Want Me
    Black Crows - Hard to Handle
    Whitesnake - Here I go Again
    Pseudo Echo - Funky Town
    Outfield - Your Love

    Pretty sure they're all from the 80s but could be wrong. We also do a bunch of stuff by Blue Rodeo and Tragically Hip from that era that works well here.
    Alik, Groove Doctor, Warhawk and 4 others like this.
  6. Marley's Ghost

    Marley's Ghost Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2002
    Tampa, FL
    Here's a few:

    Duran Duran - Rio, Hungry like a wolf
    Michael Sembello - Maniac
    Cutting Crew - Died in your arms
    Kenny Loggins - Footloose, Danger Zone
    Midnight oil - Beds are burning
    Ramones - Sedated, Rock n Roll HS, Rockaway Beach
    Dire Straits - Money 4 nothing
    Groove Doctor and Reedt2000 like this.
  7. AMp'D.2play

    AMp'D.2play Supporting Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    You didn't mention it in your OP, although it may have fallen in with the "and others", but as a fellow Central Joiseyan, there are a couple of local bands who had some hits in the 80s. You know, Bruce, Bon Jovi, maybe even some Southside Johnny. None of whom are my own personal cup o' tea, but sometimes you gotta take one for the team.

    We've done some Billy Joel, even w/out keys. Some MTV-era Bowie &/or Queen seems to go over well. There's tons of stuff from MTV's heyday, actually, that will get folks off their bar stools.
    Reedt2000 likes this.
  8. ThudThudThud


    Jun 4, 2010
    Tempted - Squeeze.
    Dizz Knee Land - Dada
    Reedt2000 likes this.
  9. garp


    Feb 7, 2009
    Connecticut USA
    Give Thomas Dolby's "She Blinded Me With Science" (1982) a try. We played it a few years ago by request at a wedding where the bride was a molecular biologist.
    Alik, pcake, murphy and 2 others like this.
  10. Instead of Mother, do Twist of Cain - Danzig
    but I think it was released in 1990, that's the year I saw him touring to support the album

    (oops, it was 1988, but I saw him supporting the Lucifuge album)
    Reedt2000 likes this.
  11. saltydude


    Aug 15, 2011
    boston CANADA
    How about "Ah Leah" Donnie Iris
    Been in my head all day.
    Bassngtr and Richland123 like this.
  12. SuperK

    SuperK Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2012
    San Jose, CA
    Here are some that we play that go over well:
    Ratt - Round and Round
    Night Ranger - Dont Tell me you love me
    Loverboy - working for the weekend
    Ozzy - Crazy Train
    Journey - Separate Ways
    Europe - Final Countdown

    You really need a keyboard for some of those though. As others have said, one obscure song per set but other than that stick to the hits.
  13. craigie


    Nov 11, 2015
    today's surprise song I heard: "I lost on jeopardy baby"
    Killed_by_Death likes this.
  14. What I Like About You - The Romantics
    Addicted To Love - Robert Palmer
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  15. Ox Boris

    Ox Boris Banned

    Nov 23, 2015
    Destination Zululand - King Kurt
    It's great if the whole band does the "Hup! Diddly-day-dum-who-wah-hey Ho!
  16. Stone Cold - Rainbow
    Hold On Loosely - 38 Special
  17. SuperK

    SuperK Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2012
    San Jose, CA
    Incidentally, this is the only gripe I have with my band - song selection. We're also an 80s cover band and the drummer and guitar player have the most say in song selection. They're both big fans of 80s rock so their tastes run deep. They'll suggest songs that are so obscure that they're the only two in the band that have heard of them. Whenever I suggest a popular or Top 40 song they turn it down because it's too lame or uncool. Typically we end up dropping their songs after playing them out a few times and seeing the crowd reaction. After wasting time learning and playing 4-5 of their songs they'll concede to play a "hit" song and the crowd goes wild.

    In my opinion we are up there to entertain the crowd and the crowd wants to hear songs that they know well. It's not rocket science. Play the songs that the ladies love because they're the ones that get up and sing and dance. And when the ladies dance the guys will follow.
    Wookieeboy and Reedt2000 like this.
  18. Pour Some Sugar On Me - Def Leppard
    Rock Of Ages - Def Leppard
    Nothin' But A Good Time - Poison
    You Give Love A Bad Name - Bon jovi
    Crazy Train - Ozzy
    Rock You Like A Hurricane - Scorpions
    We're Not Gonna Take It - Twisted Sister
    Reedt2000 and SuperK like this.
  19. Crazy Train always goes over well
    Paranoid -Black Sabbath does good
    Love Removal machine -The Cult
    Photograph -Dep Leppard
    I saw a band here in Austin do Hysteria -Def Leppard and i thought it was pretty good.
  20. I copied and pasted the ones we do from others lists above and added some of ours as well...some I did in another band but not in my current one but they were good then too/

    Poison - Talk Dirty to Me
    Poison unskinny bop
    Poison nothng but a good time
    Motley Crue - Home Sweet Home
    Def Leppard - Pour Some Sugar on Me
    Robert Palmer - Bad Case of Loving You
    Billy Joel - You May Be Right
    Billy Idol - Rebel Yell and White Wedding
    Georgia Satellites - Keep Your Hands to Yourself
    Bryan Adams - Summer of 69
    Tom Petty - Last Dance with Mary Jane
    John Mellencamp - Authority Song, Hurts so Good
    Cheap Trick - Want You to Want Me
    Ozzy Crazy Train
    The Cult -Fire Woman
    Photograph -Dep Leppard
    Hysteria -Def Leppard ...actually any Def Leppard will go over
    Pour Some Sugar On Me - Def Leppard
    Rock Of Ages - Def Leppard
    Nothin' But A Good Time - Poison
    You Give Love A Bad Name - Bon jovi
    Rock You Like A Hurricane - Scorpions
    Ratt - Round and Round
    Night Ranger - Dont Tell me you love me...Sister Christian is a great one to get the crowd to sing along with
    Loverboy - working for the weekend
    GnR - Sweet Child of Mine ...we recently added You could be mine and it seems to go over well too
    Journey - dont stop believing and any way you want it...faithfully if you have a keyboard player
    Tesla - Love Song is another sing along good one
    Sammy Hagar - One Way to Rock and I Cant Drive 55
    AC/DC shook me all nite long
    Bowie - Lets Dance
    Cheap Trick - the Flame is a great slow dance song
    Van Halen Panama and Finish What You Started, maybe Black and Blue if there are some ornery girls in the crowd.

    Th0se are just some of ours. We operate under the philosophy that just because you can play a song doesn't mean you should play it. Some songs we really played well and that we thought would be crowd pleasers were crowd killers. Hot for Teacher by VH and Dont Treat Me Bad by Firehouse come to mind. I mean, I would love to do Freewill by Rush, but lets be honest, most of the crowd would look at you like you had three heads.

    Last edited: Jul 11, 2017
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