John Alexander gives his list of the most painful karaoke songs of all time
DAISUKE Inoue was awarded the Ig Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for inventing karaoke, “thereby providing an entirely new way for people to learn to tolerate each other.” We find that one night of karaoke tends to be painful enough, but what would someone think having listened night after night for years? We asked John Alexander, aka DJ Johnny A, the owner of Eclipse Entertainers, to call on his years of karaoke experience and immense library of songs to provide us with his top ten picks for best of the worst…
The following ten songs are commonly referred to in the industry as “cigarette/drink breaks.” Most are classics, but for a karaoke singer these songs are impossible to pull off.
10. Guns ‘n’ Roses – “Sweet Child O’ Mine”
A lengthy intro with no vocals leads into the famous high squeals of Axl Rose. This song is only acceptable if you can properly execute the “The Snake,” Axl’s signature dance move.
9. Queen – “Bohemian Rhapsody”
Unless you can channel the magical vocal power and three-and-a-half octave range of Freddie Mercury, I would second guess choosing this six-minute rock ballad. However, it does provide lots of entertainment when a mob tries belting out the high notes.
8. Sheryl Crow and Kid Rock – “Picture”
When observing a couple singing this song to each other, I can never find the heart to tell them that this sweet song is actually about cheating.
7. Neil Diamond – “Sweet Caroline”
“SO GOOD! SO GOOD!” I beg to differ. It’s just a catchy chorus, with slow, quiet verses.
6. Grease – “Summer Nights”
I usually set the software on automix and step out of the room for the next five to six minutes.
5. B-52s – “Love Shack”
I have mixed feelings about this one. It can be fun to do, especially if the man sings like Fred Schneider. But when all is said and done, we already know how big your Chrysler is.
4. Tenacious D – “F*** Her Gently”
This song is fantastic, but it makes the list due to the “uncomfortable” factor. If Grandma’s out celebrating her 88th birthday, she might not be interested in hearing Jack Black’s advice.
3. Don McClean – “American Pie”
This song always seems to be requested when there are 20 people waiting in line to sing. Around the seven-minute mark you can sense the frustration in the crowd. And, don’t use “Brown-Eyed Girl” as your back-up song either!
2. Led Zeppelin – “Stairway to Heaven”
You saw Wayne’s World. You saw the sign: NO STAIRWAY!!! Not only is it hard to do Robert Plant justice, but it’s even harder trying to find what to do with yourself during the long intro and guitar solos. Maybe you should buy everyone a drink for the eight minutes and two seconds they’re never going to get back.
1. Journey – “Don’t Stop Believing”
Sorry, Agent Mulder, but sometimes it’s better not to believe. Either the whole crowd loves this one and sings along, or the bar clears. Either way, Journey wrote a couple other songs. Choosing one of those is an option. People will be intrigued to hear something new and different, possibly cheering you on as you belt out “Any Way You Want It” while standing on a table. Just please, watch that ceiling fan.
To find times and locations for karaoke, like Eclipse Entertainers at facebook.com/eclipsedjs