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Classic Rock Bands - Obscure Covers That Work For You?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by EdO., Sep 4, 2016.

  1. Not sure this is the correct forum for this, mods please move if necessary.

    The band I'm in plays classic rock but with (what I assume to be) a bit of a twist - we try to do mostly stuff you don't/won't hear other similar bands cover (we do some originals too but kind of in the classic rockish vein). Stuff that if you've ever heard it the response we're going for is "Damn, that's a great song! Haven't heard that one in a long time, cool!" Stuff you just don't hear other cover bands do. It's a fine line I know and yeah, we do some more "common" covers as well, just enough to keep it reasonable. But the majority of it is stuff that was kinda or should have been hits, better known album cuts etc. Some examples -

    Bigger Than My Body - John Mayer
    Radio Free Europe - REM
    Dizz Knee Land - Dada
    Steady As She Goes - Raconteurs
    Good Love Is On The Way - John Mayer
    Longview - Green Day
    Say It Isn't So - Outfield

    You get the idea. Works for us in our area, booking a couple times a month which as a fairly newly organized band seems pretty good for right now. So my question is - what obscure tunes is your cover band doing that work well for you even though on the surface you might not think they'd be valid choices?
    nixdad likes this.
  2. malthumb


    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    One of our signature numbers is "I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man" by Prince. Nobody else in the area does it and we do it well. One of several that I get to sing lead.
  3. LowFish


    Nov 8, 2014
    Coastal NC
    We do the same thing also, if another cover band is playing the same song locally, we will drop the song off our set list.
    When I was playing in another band I had someone tell me that they had heard the same song we were playing at 3 other clubs that they were at on the same night, it was then I decided that I did not want to play the same crap that other local bands were playing.
  4. Engine207

    Engine207 Losing faith in humanity...one call at a time.

    Jul 10, 2008
    Higley, AZ
    My band started as each of us picking songs we liked playing, with the understanding that we may wind up playing some tunes we don't personally like. We really weren't looking at "building a setlist for gigging", so as you can see...it's resulted in a pretty unusually eclectic list.

    1. Good Lovin' Gone Bad - Bad Company
    2. Run To You - Bryan Adams
    3. Hard To Handle - The Black Crowes
    4. Teaser - Tommy Bolin
    5. Hey Baby - Ted Nugent
    6. Fire Woman - The Cult
    7. Love Removal Machine - The Cult
    8. Jailbreak - Thin Lizzy
    9. Twilight Zone - Golden Earring
    10. New Year's Day - U2
    11. One - U2
    12. Mistreated - Rainbow
    13. Interstate Love Song - Stone Temple Pilots
    14. Plush - Stone Temple Pilots
    15. Gimme Three Steps - Lynyrd Skynyrd
    16. It's Not My Time - 3 Doors Down
    17. Kryptonite - 3 Doors Down
    18. Here Without You - 3 Doors Down
    19. Counting Blue Cars - Dishwalla
    20. Just Got Paid - ZZ Top
    21. White Room - Cream
    22. Badge - Eric Clapton
    23. The One I Love - REM
    24. She Ain't Got - Original
    25. Give Me A Reason - Original
    26. Stop and Stare - One Republic
    27. Learn to Fly - Foo Fighters
    28. Another Rainy Night - Queensrÿche
    29. All Over You - LīVE
    30. A Passage To Bangkok - Rush
    31. Drive - Incubus
    32. Big City Nights - Scorpions
    33. Holiday - Scorpions
    34. Message In a Bottle - The Police
    35. Good Love is on the Way - John Mayer
    36. Rebel Yell - Billy Idol
    37. White Wedding - Billy Idol
    38. Just What I Needed - The Cars
    39. Lonely Street - Kansas
    40. Surrender - Cheap Trick
    41. I Want You to Want Me - Cheap Trick
    As you can see, we do quite a few "wait, what...?" songs to go with the "really popular" ones. Now we don't play out as much as we'd like to, and we certainly don't play every song at every gig...but we've had lots of people appreciate on us mixing things, like Lonely Street and Teaser.
  5. I live in a City where every friggin band plays a revolving door of the same stuff ( doobie bros,pink floyd,CCR, ) the list goes on and on........frankly I think most of them truly believe that's all punters want, but just shows a total lack of creativity,
    3 songs I played last Saturday no one here does that went VERY well,
    Hollywood nights- Bob Segar,
    Call me the breeze- Lynyrd skynyrd,
    Route 66 - Nat King Cole (played fast and straight)
    I come from a Metal background so putting some drive and excitement Into these made people boogie!
    Jimmy4string and lokikallas like this.
  6. Assuming you don't live in the Pacific Northwest I would say grunge has plenty of choices if you avoid Nirvana. If you want something older then I'd say the band Iron Butterfly could work for you, they barely had 1 hit and the only reason it's remembered is because of the Simpsons.
  7. lokikallas


    Aug 15, 2010
    los angeles
    Black Friday- steely Dan
    Heaven and hell- sabbath
    Stuck in the middle- steelers wheel
    Lido shuffle- scaggs

    Not too out there, don't hear them on the radio every day, but everyone knows them.

    But B sides like-
    String pull job, crawling from the wreckage, and Sunday papers were met with crickets.
    mrwood4 and Jimmy4string like this.
  8. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    Wow. Now I am feeling old. John Meyer and Green Day are now considered classic rock?

    But I'll play.

    I've been mostly in originals bands. But we slmost always did a few covers to give the audience a point of reference or for an icebreaker.

    Some numbers that worked particularly well in various bands were:

    Heart Full of Soul - Yardbirds
    Suffragette City and Rebel Rebel - Bowie
    Rock and Roll Woman - Buffalo Springfield
    All the Young Dudes - Mott the Hoople version. (This song should be our national anthem.)
    I Do the Rock - Tim Curry
    Good Lovin' - Young Rascals
    Victoria and Sleepwalker - The Kinks
    Somebody - Aerosmith
    Signed Sealed Delivered - Stevie Wonder
    Stand - Sly and the Family Stone
    Such a Night - Doctor John
    Easy Money - Rikki Lee Jones
    The Tale of Job - Seatrain

    And if you need a slow blues rocker, this one always brought the house down. Alvin Lee's The Bluest Blues

    Last edited: Sep 6, 2016
  9. I used the term "classic rock bands" as a broad generalization. To me anything rock that's a few years old and anything short of metal or country pop falls into that broad generalization, but however you wanna define it. I'm really thinking more in terms of "rock stuff you don't hear every other band" do than "classic rock" per se.
    40Hz likes this.
  10. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    Ah! Good! Now I feel far less ancient. ;):laugh:

    Left a few others off my list above:

    Mr. Soft by Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel. There's a couple of different versions he does. This is the odd duck version we used.

    Also Protection by Graham Parker and Away From Home by Klark Kent.
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2016
  11. StrangerDanger

    StrangerDanger Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2010
    We do stuff like Hash Pipe, Life During Wartime, Use Me, Cover Me, I'm Tore Down
  12. Richland123


    Apr 17, 2009
    My current band plays Little Lady by Duke Jupiter and it always packs the dance floor. People love the song even when they hear it for the first time. I played it when it was new in 1984 and we decided to do it with my band now.

    Ox Boris and EdO. like this.
  13. LowFish


    Nov 8, 2014
    Coastal NC
    Back when we had a male singer we would play Cold Turkey by John Lennon.

  14. In the mood -Rush
    DOA -Van Halen
    Say what you will -Fastway
  15. Not sure why, but Kid Charlemaigne by Steely Dan always went over big in El Paso.
  16. morgansterne

    morgansterne Geek U.S.A.

    Oct 25, 2011
    Cleveland Ohio
    Suffragette city by Bowie
    Love is the drug by Roxy music

    I don't think of suffragette city as obscure, but people seem surprised to hear it. We also do Bowie's "moonage daydream" but I think the jury is still out on that getting a big response.
  17. marmadaddy


    Oct 17, 2005
    Rochester, NY
    I'm in Rochester, where they're from . "I'll Drink to You" is another one guaranteed to pack the dance floor.
    "Never Been Any Reason" by Head East is an unconventional one that always goes over well.
  18. Richland123


    Apr 17, 2009
    My last band did Behind The Wall Of Sleep by The Smithereens and we would get requests to play it when people knew we did it.

  19. We do suffragette City but i wouldn't think that is obscure.
    we are about to add "Lonley is the night" by Billy Squire
    I have heard one band that did that way back when.
    so maybe?!
  20. My band does Lonely Is The Night. Goes over very well.
    Jimmy4string likes this.

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