1. Led Zeppelin – Stairway to Heaven
Sure, this song is amazing, a great band having one of their finest moments but at the piano bar, no one wants to sit through 8 minutes of this. Few players can really sing it well, and even if they did, it kind of falls short without the flutes and guitars and other instruments that make up this classic. Within a minute or 2 people will be screaming at the piano player to “Stop! for Love Of GOD! STOP!”, or they will just leave, either way, this song is a knife through the heart of any party.
2. Meatloaf – Paradise by the Dashboard Light
Another song with a length issue. On the record this songs weaves it’s way through the story of a guy and girl hooking up and the emotions that go with it. Sitting at the piano with one guy singing all the parts will test anyone’s patience. There aren’t too many good sing along parts and after a minute or 2 you can see people start thinking about heading to another bar. “I Would Do Anything for Love” is no better. Save the Meatloaf for leftovers when you get home, not at the bar.
3. Chris de Burgh – Lady in Red
I truly amazed at how often this cure for insomnia gets requested. Slow, sappy, dull, everything you don’t want when you’re trying to get a party going.
4. Styx – Mr. Roboto
After the first “Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto” goes by, no one gives a shit about this song. After that opening there’s another 8 minutes of really boring crap to slog through, and some players will play the whole thing, you don’t want that, no one EVER wants that.
5. The Latest “Top 40” on the Radio
Hit songs are not what they used to be. When songs were Top 40 hits in the 70’s, you couldn’t get away from them, they were on every media outlet… all 3 of them. Now with “stars” like Justin Bieber and a gazillion media outlets, it’s easy for people who aren’t into Top 40 to tune it out. So you may wonder why a piano player doesn’t know a song cause it’s “number 1” and therefore presumably popular, but that’s not that case. Only a small segment of people know or care about “hit” songs anymore and few of them come into the bar at night. So you might think your favorite Ke$ha song will surely get the party going, more likely, you’ll get made fun of mercilessly for asking for such drivel.
6. Billy Joel -Scenes From an Italian Restaurant
Some players will hate me and disagree with me violently about this choice but I stand by it in context of the bar. It’s long, mostly slow, no really good sing along parts, with a million other great Billy Joel songs at your disposal it’s time to let this one go.
7. Right Said Fred – I’m Too Sexy
It’s a joke song that barely has a groove with a guy repeating “I’m too sexy for my…..” This song is strictly for narcissistic twits who think a song is sexy if it says so in the title, oh, and they ALWAYS think it’s about them. It’s not. And it’s just a bad song and a dumb idea.
8. Aqua – Barbie Girl
If you ask for this song and actually expect someone to play it I have to question your sanity. Why would you want to inflict this horrible piece of garbage on an audience of people you don’t even know? The rare piece of music that has absolutely no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Not funny. Not cute. Not kitschy. Not good in any way or any context. You may get a laugh by saying the title, that’s it.
9. The Latest Rap Songs
There’s such a glut of rap and hip hop these days that it’s as disposable as toilet paper. This weeks huge rap song is something no one remembers or cares about next week. Plus, honestly, catch a clue, we’re sitting at pianos, not turntables. Most newer rap shit has little more than a drum loop and some dude rambling on about irrelevant shit. The audience won’t understand 90% of what a player is saying and will 100% not give a shit if it’s newer rap. Stick to the classic stuff.
10. Songs By Comedians
Ever have a friend tell a joke and get a whole room laughing but when you tell the same joke, no one laughs? Senses of humor are all different and jokes are very sensitive things in the wrong hands. A song on an Adam Sandler album is not a song so much as it is a comedic performance, and if a player wants an audience to laugh he has to have the same sense of humor and has to perform the routine exactly the same way. Most often the songs fall completely flat because outside of the hands of the comedians who wrote them, the songs just aren’t that funny. Also, musicians typically like it when people cover their songs, comedians HATE it when you steal their material, so there’s also a professional courtesy in not doing comedians’ songs.