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Are some songs just past there sell-by date?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Bow tie, Mar 18, 2014.

  1. Bow tie

    Bow tie

    Jan 9, 2014
    Upstate NY
    I'm playing in a classic rock band, and I'm the youngest at 45.
    I'm afraid the problem is me. I realize you have to play music for the people, but some songs just scream "out of touch" or "stuck in a time that's over" to me. I feel like we would look stupid playing these, regardless of how well it's done.
    I'm talking about songs like Sweet home Alabama, Rocky Mountain way, smoke on the water, Freebird, stairway to heaven, etc.
    the only song I've refused to play out of embarrassment is Freebird, but I just feel like these songs are the mullet haircut of music.
    Am I just being weird ( a likely scenario), or are there songs that have just been too over-played to perform anymore?
  2. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Absolutely. For every band / tune you've cited, there's a "hidden gem" which is rarely, if ever, played. When was the last time you heard or played "Workin' For the MCA"? This holds true for just about every album I've heard / owned.

    Of course, the counter-argument will be: "...well, maybe the crowd has never heard it before". I'm dead serious.

  3. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    We end every show with Freebird.

    Of course, we took the time to actually LEARN all 10 minutes of it, and it's a fairly challenging song.

    Audiences love it; we love performing it, and we're very, very proud of it.

    We also do Rocky Mountain Way. With the correct talkbox and keyboard parts.

    Not past the sell-by date; still better than 90% of rock songs.
  4. bkbirge


    Jun 25, 2000
    Houston, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Steak n Shake
    It depends on your audience and/or who you want your audience to be. To many of us those songs are way past the sell date, to many others they are a great time reminding them of their youth and a way to connect with others of their generation. I wouldn't refuse to play any of them even if some of them I consider tired, respect your audience.
  5. Flyingfrets


    Dec 25, 2011
    This is why over the run of my last band (Beatles tribute/cover band) we kind of HAD to play the songs folks expected to hear, ie: Yesterday, I Want To Hold You Hand, Strawberry Fields Forever, Something, etc.

    But we also made a habit of really digging deep into their catalog and played things like Tomorrow Never Knows, Doctor Robert, Martha My Dear, etc.

    I think the key is finding an acceptable tradeoff between the war-horses & the hidden gems as Zooberwerx pointed out.

    Nailing the "gems" as well as we did the tired old chestnuts not only kept me interested, they were VERY well received by the folks who paid to come out & see us. Win/win situation & you can't expect much more that that.
  6. Crash 56

    Crash 56 Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Spokane, Wa.
    Mellowinman is correct, dedication and craft can make ony old song worth hearing again.
  7. Itzayana


    Aug 15, 2012
    Oakland Ca
    Songs are regional in their popularity. Sweet Home Alabama would play better in the deep south than in, let' say, Vermont.
    While it is likely very cool to end every show with Free Bird in Indiana... probably wouldn't go over very well here in California. (at least not every show).
    While some songs are definitely way past their sell-by date, many of the audiences aren't much fresher.
  8. lancimouspitt


    Dec 10, 2008
    dayton Ohio
    Their are some songs I would prefer not to cover again. Sometimes it's just not the fact their older (some songs are just classic no matter what!) it's that so many bands play them/or have played them in my area locally that theirs no point. Or it could be i'm just burnt out on them.

    1. Machine Head by Bush. Most bands use this as an opener to get the night started. Normally the singer dances around like a fish on the shore,flopping around aimlessly to return to the water.

    2. Roadhouse Blues. You know when you hear it,the singers going to get the whole crowd (or attempt) to sing "Got myself a beer".

    3.Johnny B Good. A good song but one that every cover band I've ever been in seems to gravitate towards.

    4.Can't You See: Nope,can't see playing this again. Sorry,great song but it seems like i've had to play it since I started jamming in bands.

    5. Hard To Handle. Yes,after damn near 13 years of playing this song it is Hard To Handle.

    As for Rocky Mountain Way and Smoke On The Water,i've never covered either and actually,believe it or not have never heard a local band cover either tune. So to bow tie I would say play em proud!
  9. Yes.
  10. pklima


    May 2, 2003
    Kraków, Polska
    The question I'd ask is: are these songs getting less of a crowd reaction than other songs you play, or more of a crowd reaction? Then play more of the stuff they like more and less of the stuff they like less. Maybe your crowd loves "Freebird" but would be dead for "Living On A Prayer" or "Happy" (the current US number one). Maybe not.
  11. Ah...These songs are by definition "classics", aren't they? I don't think some obscure song off of an old album would be considered classic, would it? Maybe, you had better redefine the type of band you have. :)
  12. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA

    I always considered vinyl albums, themselves, to be classics irrespective of what was tagged for FM airplay for a couple of reasons:

    *I love the artwork!

    *Skipping a track on an album was no easy feat. You had to get up, walk over to the turntable, lift the tonearm, glance sideways to find the desired "groove" or cut, and drop the tonearm. Now add alcohol, recreational pharmaceuticals, and (perchance) a half-naked woman and you'll pretty much adopt a "...screw it, just let the *&%$ play!" philosophy. I stumbled across quite a few truly notable "deep cuts" in this fashion.

    Who said I didn't learn anything in college?

  13. Bow tie

    Bow tie

    Jan 9, 2014
    Upstate NY
    Wow. Thanks for the response everybody. I was really expecting a different response, so it's eye opening.
    There has been so much music made in the last 40 years I just thought some of these were embarrassingly "done". I used to have bell-bottoms, and a bitchin' 4 inch wide polyester tie, but I don't wear them anymore - but I do still like jeans like I did long ago. I thought some music was equivalent.
    Sounds like its time for me to accept my role and shut up. Thanks.
  14. lfmn16


    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    No, but some musicians are! :D

    The songs aren't stale, the people that play them are. Never bothered to learn them right in the first place and still phoning in their performance.
  15. Regardless of date - when YOU can no longer sell a song to YOUR fans/audience its time for YOU to dump it.
  16. DrC


    Nov 24, 2008
    That's probably true- but you might be surprised how much they still like to hear it, here in Vt (sigh).
  17. JimmyThunder

    JimmyThunder Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2008
    New Hampshire
    I would estimate at least 33% of songs I hear at bars or restaurants are well past their expiration date

    Any Thursday you get some acoustic dingbat warbling "Breakfast At Tiffany's" and there are going to be folks in the house who stopped paying attention to new music when they left college in the mid 90s, so they are gonna sway on the floor and sing along to a song that should have been out to pasture long, long ago but they are glad they RECOGNIZE it. Of course the singer sees the feedback and registers that they should keep the song in their setlist because it gets people dancing. And so, here in the year 2014, we continue to be subjected to "One Week" and "Runaway Train"

    Classics stand alone on songwriting merit and are timeless. Most old songs are not classics, they're just old songs people already know.
  18. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

  19. obimark


    Sep 1, 2011
    I like the bass parts on both Free Bird and SMoke on the Water- I play the bass runs in the guitar solo of SOTW just like the record- and get the stink-eye from some of the more uneducated gui****s- but I just smile at them...
  20. jnuts1


    Nov 13, 2007
    sweet home Alabama killed it a few weeks ago, so did a bunch of tom petty & other random classic rock that was requested by the audience. & this audience was listening to gangster rap before we started.

    your audience is never wrong, whether they want classic rock or classical it doesn't matter.