We gonna ride the boogie

As long as John is doing embarrassing blegs this evening, thought I’d do one too. I’ve gotten into doing some karaoke recently. Last week I killed with Easy Like Sunday Morning, did a solid Honky Tonk Woman, and flailed with 1999.

Next week I plan to reprise Easy Like Sunday Morning and add Rock With You and Sweet Caroline and maybe Pink Houses. Do you guys have any recommendations for karaoke songs? I have trouble knowing when to come in unless there are obvious cues and more generally I have trouble with rhythm (I can’t account for this, my dad and sister are semi-professional musicians). I also can’t sing very high. I do have a nice voice though.

My holy grail would be a song where I can really emote, though not in an emo way, and maybe say “Lord have mercy” or “can I get a witness” or something like that. Are there any songs like that you can think of? I’ve tried Some Kind Of Wonderful, which seems like a natural choice, but there’s too much harmonizing. Al Green or Van Morrison is totally out of the question, unfortunately, given my limitations.

Update. A couple questions about specific songs…

I do a great “Blues Eyes Crying In Rain”, but does that work at karaoke? I usally do it in cabs or at parties, and that’s a whole ‘nother setting.

My all time favorite song is “Sweet Thing” by Rufus. Is there any way someone who is both white and male could pull that off at karaoke, possibly with back-up help? I have dreams where I do this and they seem real to me.

165 replies
  1. 1
    plaindave says:

    Emote on Bill Wither’s Use me.

  2. 2
    stuckinred says:

    subterranean homesick blues

  3. 3
    Napoleon says:

    Sweet Caroline, are you fucking joking? That was the joke song that the local piano bar would play to get you to pony up tips.

  4. 4

    hmmm, sweet carolina was a good call, but what about all the wine or or Mercy by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club or “Three Leaf Clover” by Rocky Volotato, although that’s a little emo. Plus, I always liked Bob Dylan’s Bucket’s of Rain. or you could go Tom Waits. Tough call.

  5. 5
    Shoemaker-Levy 9 says:

    Do you guys have any recommendations for karaoke songs?

    John Cage’s 4:33. Might get you laid.

  6. 6

    @Napoleon: are we talking about the same sweet caroline? that ryan adams song is fucking awesome.

  7. 7
    Doug Harlan J says:


    Yeah, tried that, I can’t quite pull it off. I convinced the guy in the office across from mine to do it, he can sing.

  8. 8
    Napoleon says:

    PS, tips to stop them from playing that song.

  9. 9
    Doug Harlan J says:


    Buckets of Rain might work, but someone did Dylan last week and it blew.

  10. 10
    chris says:

    Try some Bob Seger. Your range sounds similar to mine..and I kill with it. “Night Moves” You can emote like hell with “funny how u remember”…

  11. 11
    robertdsc-PowerBook says:

    Hotel California.

  12. 12
    Napoleon says:

    A W/SP

    What is the name of the Manalow (is it his?) song?

  13. 13
    eemom says:

    if this is not a spoof-post I will eat my hat.

  14. 14
    Doug Harlan J says:


    Night Moves is a good suggestion, I’ll try it out.

  15. 15

    @Doug Harlan J: then i’d suggest some tom waits. specifically hold on. and the cover by redbird is awesome. hell, if you can do some peter mulvey or jeffrey foucault or townes van zandt, you’re rocking the world, imho.

  16. 16
    Jon H says:

    War Pigs

  17. 17
    chris says:

    @eemom: Damn I will feel like an idiot…LOL But Dougj has spoofed way better than me…LOL

  18. 18
    Doug Harlan J says:


    What? If you don’t know me by now…

  19. 19
    Cat Lady says:

    More Than This.

    You don’t have a high register, but you’re singing Rock With You? I call spoof.

  20. 20
    Doug Harlan J says:


    I may do Desperado.

  21. 21
    Doug Harlan J says:

    @Cat Lady:

    Ah, that song works down an octave.

  22. 22
    Doug Harlan J says:


    No Tom Waits, no Rod Stewart. I’m not gravelly enough. Though I may give Maggie May a shot.

  23. 23
    RossInDetroit says:

    Pretty much any Seeger should be a Win. He has a drastically narrow range that won’t challenge a non-pro.

  24. 24
    Kmeyer the lurker says:

    Me & spousal unit do karaoke at the most cracked out dive in the entire town, & we love it. Their song selection is beyond pitiful, but I’ve found some good ones, which may or may not suit your voice:
    Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Queen
    Rock This Town by Stray Cats
    Hell by Squirrel Nut Zippers (I know, but this one is really a lot of fun)
    Life In Wartime by Talking Heads

    Try ’em or ignore ’em but have fun & get (safely) lit!

  25. 25
  26. 26
    chris says:

    Hendrix is fun as hell too. Do little wing..Who dont feel like da man singing Jimi? This assumes good back up music….

  27. 27
    Valdivia says:

    Last year when I was in germany for a wedding the first night we ended up doing Karaoke at 2 am in a place called the Bangkok Hotel and my back up was the Cologne Fire Brigade. What a night!

    Anyhoo. That night the men had a lot of fun doing Bob Marley & Bon Jovi. I can see you being able to emote on these type of songs without being all emo. I think Fever is my favorite thing to sing in Karaoke, as well as Venus. Oh and maybe some fun 60s stuff–The Four Seasons ‘Oh what a night’ or Begging are pretty good for that.

  28. 28
    p.a. says:

    Zevon: Lawyers, Guns and Money. Most Lou Reed; as Iggy said, “He couldn’t sing. I couldn’t sing. Let’s sing!”

  29. 29
    Suffern ACE says:

    Rocky Mountain Way – for the rhythmically challenged, there is no frickin way you are going to be lost when the beat is drummed into your skull. Also, has about three notes to worry about if range is an issue.

  30. 30

    @Doug Harlan J: Tom Waits isn’t always that gravelly. And you should check out the above – peter mulvey and jeffrey foucault. they do some great covers. And Townes Van Zandt is always good. or Steve Earle. Valentines Day. if that don’t do it, i’m not sure what will.

  31. 31
    eemom says:

    lemme up the ante here.

    If he ain’t fucking with us, I will go out and purchase a hat and then eat it.

  32. 32

    @p.a.: I’m not thinking LGM is the best for the mood. although keep me in your heart might be.

  33. 33
    eemom says:

    …..buuuut, just in case I’m wrong: The Lion Sleeps Tonight.

  34. 34
    Poopyman says:

    Coming from ABL’s post up above, I recommend “Having My Baby”.

    Such an kitschy song.

  35. 35
    Doug Harlan J says:


    I think I could do Are You Experienced. That’s a good suggestion.

  36. 36
    Poopyman says:

    @Poopyman: … Unless you do the punk version.

  37. 37
    Doug Harlan J says:


    I actually can sing, though, just with a limited range.

  38. 38
    Valdivia says:


    love that song.

    DougJ would you venture into singing other languages? Do they even have foreign music at Karaoke bars where you live?

    ETA–is the purpose of DougJ singing to get it with the ladies? I gather from the comments this is what the recs are about?

  39. 39
    No one of Importance says:

    This one, of course:


  40. 40
    Poopyman says:

    I also can’t sing very high. I do have a nice voice though.

    Do some James Taylor. Never fails wit’ da dames.

  41. 41
    Doug Harlan J says:


    I can’t do other languages, not even enough to get through Spanish Bombs or Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

  42. 42
    RossInDetroit says:

    Red Red Wine. UB40 style, not Neil Diamond style.

  43. 43
    stormhit says:

    If you want some “can I get a witness,” you can even stick with the Neil by nixing Sweet Caroline and going straight to Brother Love’s.

    Also, if you want to emote– Sister Christian. Totally.

  44. 44
    Svensker says:

    Raspberry Beret.

    All Night Long.

    Leaving on a Jet Plane.

  45. 45

    @Poopyman: james taylor is kinda high. just sayin’ is eemom eating her hat yet?

  46. 46
    Valdivia says:

    @Doug Harlan J:

    Got it. Only asking because if it’s a little cause-the-swooning thing I have a couple of easy-to-sing boleros that never fail :)

    I approve of your choice sir.

  47. 47
    Poopyman says:

    Or if you’re drunk enough, anything by Dylan will probably sound passable.

  48. 48
    Maude says:

    Southern Comfort would ratchet up the emo. The voice range usually expands at about the same time one starts weeping.

  49. 49
    Nikita says:

    Try a little tenderness.

    The version by Andrew Strong from the movie The Commitments:


    For no reason really. I just have it in my head and wanted to share the earworm.

  50. 50
    we can be heroes says:

    Hair of the Dog, for JC

  51. 51
    Poopyman says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: High? He sings in a baritone!

    He might be high while doing it, though.

  52. 52
    Doug Harlan J says:


    Yeah, I was thinking Raspberry Beret too. The whole “sheeee wasn’t too bright” is troublesome for me, though. I can do the “feeel like a movie star” part okay though.

  53. 53
    RossInDetroit says:



    r if you’re everyone’s drunk enough, anything by Dylan will probably sound passable.


  54. 54

    @Doug Harlan J: did you think about some john prine?

  55. 55
    Cat Lady says:

    @Doug Harlan J:

    OK, I’ll work with you here – you could really get down with your bad self with Wanna Be Starting Something, and work in some shout outs.

    I’m going to go listen to some Sly now and forget this post ever happened.


  56. 56
    Suffern ACE says:

    Range on this one isn’t bad and it’s rather consistent rythmically
    “He got a custom Continental; he got an el Dorado too. He got a .32 gun in his pocket for fun; he got a razor in his shoe” is about as complicated as it gets.

  57. 57
    Doug Harlan J says:


    The Commitments is right where I’m coming from. Bear in mind I’m an Irish guy who sings Marvin Gaye in the shower every morning

  58. 58

    @Shoemaker-Levy 9: You win. I would definitely give a guy a second look if he announced he was doing this number by Cage, and, more importantly, actually did it.

    ETA: In case your serious, anything by Glen Hansard, if you know who he is.

    ETA II: Given your comment about The Commitments (the movie, yes?), you know who he is.

  59. 59
    Doug Harlan J says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    That’s an excellent suggestion, I may do it.

  60. 60

    @Poopyman: OK, it’s not fucking hair band high, but he’s pretty high all things considered.

  61. 61
    Nikita says:

    Actually, anything from the Commitments soundtrack would work great. Best soundtrack ever.

  62. 62
    Poopyman says:

    @Poopyman: FYWP, for not letting me edit.

    After some time at Youtube I realize I’ve been singing an octave down.

    Never mind!

  63. 63
    Gravenstone says:

    @Suffern ACE: True, almost any Joe Walsh would work from that standpoint. I suggest Life’s Been Good, in that vein.

  64. 64

    @Doug Harlan J: wait, commitments, but no Van the Man? WTF? Might as well sing Pogues.

  65. 65
  66. 66
    QDC says:

    The greatest karaoke performance I have ever, or will ever see, was an extremely butch lesbian absolutely singing the hell out of Led Zepplin’s “The Lemon Song.” (“Squeeze me baby, till the juice runs down my leg.The way you squeeze my lemon, I’m gonna fall right out of bed.”) The bar sat in stunned silence, and then just exploded in applause.

    I had a friend who killed by doing “Devil Went Down to Georgia,” and singing all the fiddle parts.

  67. 67
    chris says:

    Probably impossible…and most likely embarrassing (its how I end my parties) but some indigo girls always feels good..(i sound like shit..but man does it make me happy!)

  68. 68
    Nikita says:

    @Doug Harlan J: “An Irishman that sings Marvin in the shower” and cracks me up at least once a day?

    I think I’m in lurrve!

  69. 69
    Arclite says:

    If you don’t have a lot of range, The Doors are a good choice. Break on Through and Light My Fire are on almost every karaoke machine in existence.

  70. 70

    @hilts: very high. even the gillian welch version is high with old crow medicine show. i’m not sure there are any Band songs that would be in DougJ’s register. Also, did I mention damien rice – his cannonball can seduce the ladies. or Ray Lamontagne’s you are the best thing – although it can be high.

  71. 71
    Doug Harlan J says:


    You know what, I hate the Doors, but that might work.

  72. 72
    Doug Harlan J says:


    Van the Man sings better than that guy in the Commitments. I’ve worked on Jackie Wilson Said and Caravan but I just can’t do them.

  73. 73
    Brian R. says:

    1. Merle Haggard, “Mama Tried”

    2. Barry White, “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love”

    3. Journey, “Any Way You Want It”

    4. Lou Rawls, “You’re Gonna Miss My Lovin”

    You’re welcome.

  74. 74
    Joel says:

    I like to serenade my wife with Thunder Road.

    But for kicks, you can always rock out with Born to be Wild. If you have real balls, you could try to karaoke some rap. Even crappy old school rap is very, very difficult.

  75. 75
    Doug Harlan J says:

    @Kmeyer the lurker:

    I’ve thought about some of those, those are good suggestions.

  76. 76

    @Doug Harlan J: yep, that’s a high bar to start at. try Days Like This. Also, have you thought about any Richard Thompson. He’s in a lower register than van the man.

  77. 77
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    We need a recording so we can determine if you are good when drunk or not…lol!

    How about Good Golly Miss Molly?

  78. 78
    chris says:

    @Joel: Oh man…I serenade my friends to that one. My favorite Bruce song.

  79. 79
    hilts says:

    Where are the glam rock suggestions such as Virginia Plain by Roxy Music?

  80. 80
    replicnt6 says:

    @Suffern ACE: Oh, Jim Croce. You wanna emote, how about Operator?

  81. 81
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @Doug Harlan J: If you see her say hello would be my vote if yer gonna cover the Zimmerman cat. It’s lovely and nobody else is gonna do it.

  82. 82


    But for kicks, you can always rock out with Born to be Wild. If you have real balls, you could try to karaoke some rap. Even crappy old school rap is very, very difficult.

    Don’t make me whip out “mind’s playin tricks on you,” which I actually sang once. lol.

  83. 83
    RossInDetroit says:

    Tricky rhythms. Maybe Love is the Drug but that’s one for tenors.

  84. 84
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: Townes van Zandt, the songwriter love of my life. I swear my next gelding is gonna be named Townes as a barn name.

  85. 85
  86. 86
    mclaren says:

    “Surfing Bird” by The Trashmen.

  87. 87

    I got nuthin’ but I did find this “Top 10 karaoke songs for men” list …

  88. 88

    Do you guys have any recommendations for karaoke songs?

    A friend and I killed with this last year: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lj-x9ygQEGA

    Of course, that was not your normal karaoke.

  89. 89
  90. 90
    Nalbar says:

    If you want to absolutely KILL, then don’t do anything that is close to a standard, or sung by anybody with a voice at all. Pull the unexpected out, some thing that some might never have heard at all. Then sing it like you mean it.

    Hands down, my choice, a song with a message;


  91. 91
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @Nikita: I saw him first. I’m just sayin’

  92. 92
    Doug Harlan J says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q):

    You two are too kind.

  93. 93
    Johannes says:

    “Fly Me to the Moon,” baby. I keeled.

    Doug, I know you said no Tom Waits–but “Fumblin With the Blues” can be done without the gravelly effect–it cleans up pretty well. Or Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”. (Of course, that one always puts me in mind of Alison Janney weeping, but wotthehell, wotthehell._

  94. 94
    Svensker says:

    Sweet Thing made me remember Chaka Khan’s “Ain’t Nobody”, which may be best song ever of all time.

    Never heard anyone else do it. Can’t improve on perfection.

  95. 95
    Doug Harlan J says:


    Yeah, Frank might work for me. I would do I’ve Got You Under My Skin or Just The Way You Look Tonight.

  96. 96
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    Think about If you see her say hello. Short but pretty and easier than Buckets of Rain. Or if you want kinda emo, do My Opening Farewell or Jamaica Say You will – all Jackson’s early stuff was better, lyrically.

  97. 97
    Suffern ACE says:

    Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain would work if you don’t try to imitate Willie singing it. It’ll save your chops for the grand finale.

    O.K. Last one Moody Blues to knock em dead and the theme is perfect for the venue.

    Range wise, it is very limited so you won’t find yourself suddenly stuck singing notes that hurt. Besides, even if you are, you don’t have to sing any note very long. Since you are obsessing 24 hours before you go on, I assume that you are going to practice. The hard part is:

    How can we understand
    Riots by the people for the people
    Who are only destroying themselves
    And when you see a frightened
    Person who is frightened by the
    People who are scorching this earth.

    You could blow the roof off the joint with that, though.

  98. 98
    Peter says:

    @Jon H: I actually sang War Pigs at karaoke a few years ago.
    @Doug Harlan J: It’s hard to beat Sam Cooke’s Bring It On Home To Me, though it helps if you’re heartbroken.

  99. 99
    fitzwili says:

    Let me echo the call for John Prine. Spanish Pipedream is great, I knew that naked lady had something up her sleeve is such a killer line. Also early Kristofferson. It is not as famous as others but I love his song Sugarman, it is very dramatic to sing. How about Roger Miller?

  100. 100
    Corner Stone says:

    @Doug Harlan J:

    If you don’t know me by now…

    You will never never never know me

  101. 101
    kentropic says:

    “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” or “Take Me to the River” (the Al Green version).

  102. 102
    Doug Harlan J says:


    King of the Road might work.

  103. 103
    Corner Stone says:

    DougJ, there are 2, and only 2, songs a white male can pull off while drunkenly kararokaking.
    1. Chocolate Salty Balls – by chef
    2. Gimme Something to Break – Limp Bizkit

    Now please tell the crowd just how bad you’ve been pranking them.

  104. 104
    RossInDetroit says:

    One slightly hipper baritone whose parts are pretty easy to sing is Ian McCulloch. If you find a karaoke machine with Killing Moon on it I want to be there.

  105. 105
    fasteddie says:

    Brandy by Looking Glass.

  106. 106
  107. 107
    Doug Harlan J says:


    I have done that one before and I may try it again. Got to remember to start low, because it rises.

  108. 108
    fitzwili says:

    @ Doug Harlan J
    Best of all possible worlds by Kris Kristofferson is pretty great.
    Boy named sue perhaps?
    Oooh what about Rhinestore Cowboy?

  109. 109
    Parallel 5ths (Jewish Steel) says:

    @Doug Harlan J: Sweet Jane. It’s low, soulful, got some “whoas!” and “watchmenows!” You’ll knockem dead, DougJ TomJones.

  110. 110
    Doug Harlan J says:

    @Parallel 5ths (Jewish Steel):

    It’s too talky though. One of my favorites songs, though.

    I’m good with Pale Blue Eyes.

  111. 111
    Svensker says:


    It’s hard to beat Sam Cooke’s Bring It On Home To Me, though it helps if you’re heartbroken.


  112. 112
    RossInDetroit says:

    Maybe What’s New P*s*ycat? I love that song. It’s so sassy!

  113. 113
    fitzwili says:

    Beck’s version of the Dylan song Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat is fantastic. Give it a listen, it is a blast to sing. What about the Kinks? Oh and Big Star’s Thirteen is a heartmelter.

  114. 114
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    I’ve always wanted to sing Let it Be, and just use the words “let it be” a lyrics rather than the actual lyrics.

  115. 115
    Parallel 5ths (Jewish Steel) says:

    @Doug Harlan J:

    It’s too talky though

    That’s how you rope-a-dope your audience. First they’re thinking, “Oh, he’s picked a safe, tuneless talking song.” Then we build, BUILD, BUILD and POW! Knock it out of the park on that last verse!

  116. 116
    fitzwili says:

    Oh and if you want to do a weirdly dramatic song that will bring the house down, In the year 2525 is your song.

  117. 117
    Parallel 5ths (Jewish Steel) says:

    @Doug Harlan J:

    Or maybe Graham Parker? Temporary Beauty? Stupefaction? Big Man On Paper is a killer song.

  118. 118
    dobrojutro says:

    Sister Christian.

    You’re welcome.

  119. 119
    Parallel 5ths (Jewish Steel) says:

    All four sides of Tales of Topographic Oceans would be ballsy, but Jon Anderson sings higher than a lot of girls.

  120. 120
    greggha says:

    London Homesick Blues, Jerry Jeff Walker. Throw that down and watch the tears flow.

  121. 121
    Bill Murray says:

    I humbly suggest (I’m not your) Steppin’ Stone and/or The Rainbow Connection maybe you can duet with Debbie Harry http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRvhRhWWE44

  122. 122
    RossInDetroit says:

    These days with a little autotune and a lot of digital reverb anyone can sound like a god. I studied voice for 10 years for naught.

  123. 123
    Gian says:

    to play along…

    I wanna live…

    or bonzo goes to bitburg, if you wanna be all political and stuff

  124. 124
    eemom says:

    How about Son of a Preacher Man, in honor of Pulp Fiction? Surely the husky alto of Dusty Springfield is within reach.

    (If this post is for real, I will hire a milliner to custom design, produce, and display an entire fashion show of eatable hats.)

  125. 125
    Bill Murray says:

    @Bill Murray: and thinking about Blondie always makes me think of The Nerves so add

    Hangin’ on the Telephone and Paper Dolls http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....re=related

  126. 126
    jazmen8 says:

    “My all time favorite song is “Sweet Thing” by Rufus. Is there any way someone who is both white and male could pull that off at karaoke, possibly with back-up help? I have dreams where I do this and they seem real to me.”

    After all of your best-of-blog headlines, this post put me over top. I think I love you lol…seriously!

  127. 127
    Parallel 5ths (Jewish Steel) says:

    @RossInDetroit: Another singing janitor? That’s crazy. We should start our own blog. Or band. Or cleaning company.

  128. 128
    danimal says:

    First, I believe eemom’s hat is safe for now.

    My all time favorite song is “Sweet Thing” by Rufus.

    I’m going to start counting how many songs get the DougJ “all time favorite song” description. It’s got to be in the dozens, possibly hundreds.

  129. 129
    freelancer says:

    @Jon H:

    I found from listening to Girl Talk that I can sing War Pigs like a motherfucker.

  130. 130
    RossInDetroit says:

    @Parallel 5ths (Jewish Steel):

    Another singing janitor? That’s crazy. We should start our own blog. Or band. Or cleaning company.

    Custodial work. Isn’t that where everyone who spent too much time sight reading sheet music ends up if they’re not good looking enough to wait tables?

  131. 131
    Parallel 5ths (Jewish Steel) says:

    @RossInDetroit: And, in my case at least, don’t like mornings. Yes, you’ve nailed it.

  132. 132
    Gian says:

    oh and I forgot, avoid “my Way” read a story a year or two back about how that song starts fights/homicides in Manilla, and parts nearby

    if you want to not be booed, there’s the version of the prayer of st francis done by Sarah Mclachlan on the Buffy TV soundtrack, though I doubt it’ll be available…

  133. 133
    eemom says:


    I had a friend who killed by doing “Devil Went Down to Georgia,” and singing all the fiddle parts.

    heh. I have no recollection of this, but my husband and kids insist that I recited that entire song in the hospital while zoned out on pain meds the night after I had back surgery.

  134. 134

    “Try A Little Tenderness” by Otis Redding. It’s everything you describe.

  135. 135
    mrami says:

    I’ve done You’ve Got The Love before with good results (I’m mostly baritone, so it’s kinda funny to hear me do Chaka). I think Little Feat has a lot of soul, too. Fat Man In The Bathtub, for example, fun as hell to sing. I get my son’s preschool class to all sing along with me.

  136. 136
    Bill Murray says:

    @Cris (without an H): pretty much anything by Otis Redding fits the bill.

    One could also do a Satisfaction 3-peat — Devo, Otis and the Stones

  137. 137
    freelancer says:


    My cousin and I butchered DWD2G years ago on a fairly infamous family excursion. That night might be mentioned in my obit, it’s that infamous in my extended family.

  138. 138
    JPK says:

    Sam Cooke, “Sugar Dumpling.” It has funny lines that are fun to sing (“fixes me a dinner with seven kinds of meat” … “give me that coffee”).

    Stay far away from Johnny Cash songs, they are impossible without cover.

    Good luck.

  139. 139
    Church Lady says:

    How about some Judy or Barbara? You could emote to them.

  140. 140
    piratedan says:

    well based on the suggestions so far, I would humbly suggest the following Nick Lowe classic, Cruel To Be Kind


    plenty of emo interpretation without getting into the really high ranges, and its hooky as hell and most of all, its lyrically snarky and quite possibly its a song that isn’t sung all the time.

  141. 141
    MikeJ says:

    I would love to see DougJ do The Jackal.

  142. 142
  143. 143

    As someone who’s done more karaoke than everyone else in this entire thread combined, I find the insecurity of the “he must be joking, right?” crowd really funny.

    Doug, based on what you’ve said and you saying that you can already do a passable Jagger, I’d say give Wild Horses a try. Everyone knows it but it’s rarely done, there’s nothing tricky about the rhythm, and you can pour your heart out singing it. It’s the kind of song where feeling it is way more important than getting every last note or word right.

  144. 144
    BethanyAnne says:

    Late to the party, skipped to the end. Do “Folsom Prison Blues”!

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    Ryan says:

    My local bar has “Tom Traubert’s Blues.” It’s plenty emotive and you can’t screw it up too badly.

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    Will says:

    Sinatra’s my standby. If you can sing at all, he’s in your range, and it’s plenty emotional.

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    Anne Laurie says:

    Seeger’s ‘Turn the Page’ or Zevon’s ‘Mr. Bad Example’. Or if you’re all drunk enough, Croce’s ‘Time in a Bottle’. All emot-intensive, and I’d assume common enough to be karaoke’d.

    The other singer-songwriter nobody’s mentioned yet, I think, is Dan Fogelberg. Probably a reason for that…

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    Chines says:

    If you wanna be a stage hog, you can always do all 20 verses of El Paso by Marty Robbins. I really got a kick out of some guy friends doing Putting on the Ritz by Taco.

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    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @RossInDetroit: Some of them have the visuals, but not the temperament to wait tables. So they are the very hot janitors, heh. Or web developers.
    How do you improve the aerodynamics of a guitar player’s car? Remove the Domino’s sign from the roof. Difference between a dead trombone player and a dead snake in the middle of the road? The snake might have been on its way to a gig.*
    Between a dead lawyer and dead snake? Skidmarks in front of the snake. Try the veal and don’t forget to tip generously.

    *Mr. Q was a professional trombone player in upstate NY prior to becoming Mr. Q, though we originally met when he was getting his masters in composition at our local music conservatory and was the housemate of my ex (a guitar player). So all 3 of us have jokes above. Heh.

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    Yutsano says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q): How do you get two oboes in tune? Shoot one.

    What’s the difference between an oboe and an onion? No one cries when you chop an oboe.

    (Humanities with a Music Emphasis, Washington State University)

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    Gina says:

    Dirty Water by The Standells.

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    piratedan says:

    @Gina: good call Gina, who knows, maybe you can do Time Wont Let Me, by the Outsiders

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    for limited range, and surprising opportunity or two to emote

    punk rock girl by the dead milkmen.

    although if your karaoke is as classic rockish as most, it might fall on deaf ears, even though its anything but punk.

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    DPirate says:

    @chris: Devotion is quick and easy.

    Morphine and Chocolate by 4nonBlondes.
    Superstar from Jesus Christ Superstar.
    She’s Gone, Hall and Oates.
    Love is a Stranger, Eurythmics.
    Songs From the Wood, Tull.
    Fire on the Mountain, Marshal Tucker Band.

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    Gina says:

    What about Cheap Trick? Surrender is my favorite, but Want You to Want Me would give lots of emoting opps.

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    Bobby Thomson says:

    Darling Nikki

    Up on Cripple Creek

    Suspicious Minds

    It’s Now or Never

    Night Swimming

    I Think She Likes Me (Morphine)

    Crazy. Patsy made it famous, but Willie wrote it and it will get you laid.

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    mak says:

    It’s all about audience participation, which is why Sweet Caroline is a good pick, though probably overly cooked by now.
    Others crowds love:
    Rocky Mountain High, John Denver
    You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away, the Beatles (the crowd all jumps in on the “HEY” just before “you’ve got to hide your love away.”
    Also, anything with a grunt, like You Got that Right, Lynyrd Skynyrd.

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    marv says:

    “Loving You” – forget the artist but she left Rotary Connection to go solo – would be perfect for you

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    wazmo says:

    The Boy George version of “The Crying Game”.

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    Dr.BDH says:

    Two words: Talking Heads. Everybody has a greater vocal range than David Byrne. Try “This Must Be the Place” for emotion. Or “Psychokiller,” for fun.

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    gerry says:

    Try Take It Easy by the Eagles or Back in the USSR. Easy

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    In this case, I recommend John Cage’s “4 minutes, 33 seconds.”

  164. 164

    “Sweet Revenge” by John Prine

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    JRon says:

    “don’t tell me no lines and keep your hands to yourself” is a great karaoke song. You can emote.

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