Everybody loves karaoke. The problem is, not every voice was created equally. Add some alcohol to the mix, and you have people covering their ears and leaving the room. At the end of the day, courtesy to your fellow man dictates that there are some songs best left untouched.
Whether they’re masterpieces, played out, or just plain bad, people seem to gravitate toward a select few tunes. There are too many to name here, but we’ve selected 15 of the worst offenders to spare you and your friends from embarrassment.
If you’ve already used them, the damage is done, but keep it in mind for the future.
#15 Journey- Don’t Stop Believin’ (1981)
Few songs have the ability to put a smile on a person;s face more quickly than Don’t Stop Believin’. A perfect example of Journey in their prime, wrapped together with frontman Steve Perry’s dynamic vocal range. This is what makes for an awful time when others try to sing it.
#14 Queen- Bohemian Rhapsody (1975)
This is one amazing tune. A five minute operetta of epic proportions, it tells the story of a young person who commits a murder and gets caught. While the band rocks out, Freddie Mercury sells the tale with a gamut of emotions. It should be telling that Queen can’t find a replacement for Mercury. Don’t try to put yourself in his shoes. It won’t be pretty.
#13 Michael Jackson- Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough (1979)
Michael Jackson may have been a household name when his first solo album came out, but this was all because of the Jackson Five. The album proved that MJ could strike out on his own and still sell records. Select this single at karaoke, and you’ll be following the herd. It’s one of the most overplayed.
#12 Adele- Hello (2015)
This moody track was the first music English super diva Adele released following a hiatus, and it was a smashing success. The subject matter is just too heavy for a good time at the karaoke bar, however.
#11 Eminem- Lose Yourself (2002)
This song from the 8 Mile soundtrack was an introduction to many people that had never listened to Eminem before. In the context of the film, it works great. Rappers have extraordinary skills. Drunk people at bars? Absolutely not.
#10 Billy Joel- Piano Man (1973)
Arguably Billy Joel’s biggest hit, this one has a breezy melody and fits in perfectly at a bar. In fact, it’s set in a bar! Tragically, it falls into the category of overplayed.
#9 Whitney Houston- I Will Always Love You (1992)
Whitney Houston’s most popular track was a showcase of her big, beautiful voice. She had an incredible vocal range and emotional investment in this tune. Therein lies the problem: nobody sounds like Whitney.
#8 Neil Diamond- Sweet Caroline (1969)
This classic is fun to sing at a wedding, there aren’t that many lyrics and there a lot of musical flourishes that can be vocalized. It works out really well when there are a bunch of people singing it together, but on your own? It’s a bit sad.
#7 Frank Sinatra- My Way (1968)
Old Blue Eyes had a smashing success with this track, an anthem for the downtrodden who wouldn’t bend to the will of everyone else. This is so popular at karaoke night that sometimes it gets picked back-to-back. Don’t be that person.
#6 Don Mclean- American Pie (1971)
This song is a snapshot of how a young rock and roll fan felt when several of his heroes had died in a plane crash in the early 60s. While that may sound like light, fun subject matter, it can be a real downer for everybody in the room.
#5 Sir Mix-Alot- Baby Got Back (1992)
The track presents itself as a love letter to ladies with large posteriors. Nothing wrong with that. The issue comes in when other people try to cop Mix-Alot’s soulful voice and bombastic presentation. Nah, it’s just overplayed.
#4 Vanilla Ice – Ice Ice Baby (1990)
Despite the name, this song is not particularly cool. In fact it’s frozen in time. No one looks forward to this track these days, and within the first few seconds of the instruments kicking in, people will know it’s time to head for the restroom.
#3 Poison- Every Rose Has It’s Thorn (1988)
This song is long, it’s dated, and it’s bad. Maybe it’s okay to sing at a biker bar or in the shower, but just know that if you select it for karaoke you’re subjecting people to it, not performing it for them.
#2 Garth Brooks- Friends In Low Places (1990)
This tune is very fun to sing in a big group with all your rowdy friends. A big hit for Garth Brooks (a career maker, in fact), this one strikes all the right chords for a night out on the town. Try to do it by yourself though, and you’re going to fall flat.
#1 Meatloaf- Paradise By The Dashboard Light (1977)
Meatloaf unleashed this little rock opera unto the world, and ever since it has become a staple of the karaoke scene. Particularly duets. You may want to rethink that though. The song is about a young person who talks his way into sex with a love interest. She winds up hanging on to him and he would do anything to get rid of her. What a blast.