10 Best and Worst Karaoke Songs

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you are enjoying the parties of the season and all that it brings…hangovers and great memories.

 The season is not done yet so in honor of the big New Year parties about to take place,I have sent along the best and worse of karaoke choices just in case your New Year party includes some singing

 I’ll admit it. It’s embarrassing, but I am a karaoke junkie. It wasn’t always this way. I would karaoke every now and then, for something different to do. Now, I crave it. I make lists of songs to sing and get excited when I come up with a good new one. I am officially a karaoke nerd.

Why do I even like karaoke? It’s such a weird thing to do. I go to a bar to listen to (usually tone deaf) amateurs singing songs they shouldn’t be singing, and I shamefully mutilate a few myself. Karaoke’s been around in Asia since the 1970s–no big surprise that Japan is credited for starting it–but it’s a fairly new form of entertainment here in Canada. And I love it. Serious karaoke fanatics buy a karaoke system and have karaoke parties in their basements. Others seek out karaoke bars and private karaoke rooms. or hire a Karaoke KJ like me with a huge karaoke database of over 134,000 English songs so they can have the ultimate choice of music. I’ve done it all, and each party or venue has its own appeal.

Now that I’ve heard my fare share of good and bad karaoke songs, I’ve got a good handle on what songs work and what songs don’t. Whether you’re new to karaoke or you’re an old veteran, this list might give you some ideas for your next karaoke outing. Instead of lazily listing good and bad songs, I’ve decided to give you categories with many songs in each. Enjoy the show



1) The cherished (80s) rock songs – I stuck 80s in there because there are so many good ones from that era. Bon Jovi, Guns n’ Roses (though be careful with GnR cause some of their songs are LOOONG), and hair bands like Poison or Def Leppard are great karaoke fun. Who doesn’t like to hear “Pour Some Sugar on Me” in a bar? These work so well because we hardly hear these songs anywhere else these days.

People actually like this!


2) The silly, yet fun pop songs – These work well because they’re songs people secretly enjoy–and you might be surprised what people secretly enjoy. “Living La Vida Loca” by Ricky Martin was one that we tried for obnoxiousness, that the crowd actually really enjoyed. Other good ones are Ace of Base “The Sign,” Spice Girls “Wannabe or Stop,” George Michael “Faith,” “Lady Marmalade” (for true singers) and if you’re feeling really brave…try Wham “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go.”…,silly but fun


3) The successful duets – Duets are tough. Most people avoid them, but there are a few that everyone loves. “Love Shack” by the B52s and “Summer Nights” from Grease will never lead you astray.

4) Journey – Everybody loves Journey. Even if you won’t admit it, you love Journey. Journey is much more karaoke fun if the person up there can actually sing but hwne has that been necessary in karaoke?. The obvious ones are “Don’t Stop Believing” and “Faithfully,” but I’ve also seen some great renditions of “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart).” Pick a song, any song. They’re all bomb.


5) The songs everybody knows but forgot about – Bringing a song back that used to be popular is always fun. “Semi Charmed Life” by Third Eye Blind, old Elton John like “Crocodile Rock,” or songs like Natalie Imbruglia’s “Torn” can work well because people go, Oh yeah, I remember this song!! They make good karaoke songs for the nostalgia factor.


6) The girl anthems – Here you’ve got your female empowerment songs, and a few that are just awesome. Try some Tragic Kingdom-era No Doubt, Kelly Clarkson or Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats” (which is vastly becoming a crowd favorite)

– Side category: The 80s girl anthemPat Benatar’s “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” anything by Blondie, Cyndi Lauper, or if you really can’t think of anything else to sing, Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock ‘n Roll.”


7) The old school hits – These are the old dude favorites. But no matter your age, these songs are always good. Kicking it old school is always appreciated – Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong, or “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” are a few faves.

8) The left field crowd pleasers – If you can sing for real and you’re feeling crazy…. try some crowd pleasers most people wouldn’t think to sing for karaoke. Like “Let’s Get it On” by Marvin Gaye. Or some James Brown. Something that requires crooning or massive singing skills.


9) The dancing songs – These are the songs that are going to make people get up and dance. ABBA is great for this. Britney can also work, but it depends on the song. “Baby Got Back” is also a dancing gem, but make sure you know the words.

10) Anything singalongable – This covers any songs that people like to sing to. Weezer is a crowd pleaser, Madonna and Billy Idol too. People always enjoy “Sweet Home Alabama” too. Even though it’s overdone, it’s a fun singalongable song.


Karaoke Fail….


1) The songs EVERYBODY sings – If I never hear “Sweet Caroline,” “Margaritaville” or “Brown Eyed Girl” ever again, it would be too soon.

2) The songs nobody knows – If your friends go “Huh?” when you mention an artist or song, it’s probably not a good one for karaoke. People will be bored if they don’t know the song you’re singing. Old dudes are infamous for pulling these out.


3) Anything old cry in my beer country - Period. Don’t do it. Nobody cares. However the new country is pretty cool, especially Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, etc.


4) No more slow songs - The biggest problem with slow songs is that they’re painfully long. An old guy favorite in this category is Elton John’s “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me.” Anything with a similar tempo should be avoided, especially if it’s 8 minutes long.

5) No more sad songs – Anything about dying or death or songs that make people cry should not be brought into a karaoke platform. Once, a girl sang “I Will Remember You” by Sarah McLachlan and then immediately went into “Goodbye to You” by Michelle Branch as her next choice. If you’re depressed, don’t sing karaoke.


6) The awkward song – While “Baby Got Back” is fun*, don’t think risky songs fly with karaoke crowds. Once you get into “The Bad Touch” by the Bloodhound Gang or “I’ll Make Love to You” by Boyz II Men, people start to feel uncomfortable. Another one to avoid is “I Wanna — You Up” by Color Me Badd. It’s not funny- just awkward. If you have just got to do it, this song is best sung when everybody’s had a few drinks in them.


7) The rap songs, by someone who can’t rap – This doesn’t happen very often (most people know better), but I’ve seen it. Basically: White girls should not try to sing Snoop Dogg. I’m not being racist; I say this based on the fact that most white girls cannot rap. White guys also should not try Eminem songs. Just because he’s white does not mean that you, normal white guy, can rap. Leave the rapping to the rappers.


8) Songs that are plain annoying – My favorite in this category is LEN’s “Steal My Sunshine.” Not gonna lie- I got up with a friend and did this one. When the song title came on the screen, the audience GROANED. Groaned. No joke. Stay away from songs people just don’t like. Aqua’s “Barbie Girl” would be another groan-inducing one.


9) The 10 minute long song – I’m talking to you, “Bohemian Rapsody” and “Thriller.” It sounds like a good idea because people like these songs, but trust me…by 7 minutes, people are bored. Sure they’ll sing along for a while. But these songs are Just. Too. Long. And absolutely no “Freebird” or “Hotel California” either!!


10) Songs with very little lyrics or long instrumental sections – Usually the only time this happens is after the 10th sake bomb, but it’s a good reminder to know what you’re singing before you put it in. Songs like “Tequila!” should never be karaoke’d. This also applies for songs like “Paradise City” by GnR…it’s got a forever and ever instrumental section right in the middle, making it a weird song for karaoke. “Love is a Battlefield” by Pat Benatar…same thing. Listen to your karaoke songs before you hit the bar.
– Also: Songs with seriously repetitive lyrics like “Total Eclipse of the Heart” get old real fast too.


Ok, now that you have got some info on a bit of karaoke stylings, take a look at this s report by Dateline NBC news on the karaoke phenomenon. http://youtu.be/6fzdeubLS7Y


I was blown away when i heard that there are over 100,000 bars in the U.S. that host karaoke at least once a week. And by the way, What’s your favorite and least favorite karaoke song?


DJ Gary

“Your moment, your music. The way you want it played!”

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