15 of the Most Requested Karaoke Songs

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Picking the perfect karaoke song can be a tough choice. The song has to be popular enough so people can sing along with you, but easy enough for a karaoke beginner to master. In honor of National Karaoke Week, which kicks off today, here are 15 of the most requested karaoke songs.

1. Michael Jackson — “Billie Jean”

One of the key reasons why this is one of the perfect karaoke songs is because it gives you  the opportunity to do the Moonwalk (or try to do the Moonwalk) in front of an appreciative group of people. "Billie Jean" is the second single from Michael Jackson’s sixth solo album, Thriller, and is one of the easiest to MJ songs to sing.

2. Weezer – “Say It Ain’t So”

From Weezer’s first self-titled album (also known as the Blue Album), “Say It Ain’t So” highlights catchy rock vocals and gives people the opportunity to play “air guitar” on an amazing guitar solo. The song also launched Weezer into icon status as one of the best rock bands of the '90s.

3. Natalie Imbruglia – “Torn”

What better way to honor a one-hit wonder than to sing their song, which is one of the most requested karaoke tracks of all time? The opening lead single track from Australian Natalie Imbruglia's Grammy-nominated debut album, Left of the Middle, is actually pretty tough to sing, so make sure to warm up with something a little easier before attempting this one.

4. Kings of Leon – “Sex on Fire”

The first single from Kings of Leon’s fourth album—Only by the Night—“Sex on Fire” was an international number one hit song in the United Kingdom and Australia, but never found that type of success in the United States. The song gained popularity when it won a Grammy for Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group and was later featured on the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show compilation album.

5. Adele – “Someone Like You”

The inspiration behind Adele’s “Someone Like You” was a past broken relationship. It serves as a popular request by the newly broken-hearted; while the song seems easy and simple, it’s not for karaoke novices. Its piano accompaniment cannot hide vocal mistakes and its range goes from deep to high at a short moment's notice. “Someone Like You” is a pro level karaoke song, so drink up and don’t be afraid to embarrass yourself if you’re not a pro.

6. Radiohead – “Creep”

A very popular song among newly jilted young men, Radiohead’s “Creep” conveys strange painful feelings in a perfectly timed pop song. Radiohead’s debut single from their first album, Pablo Honey, is easy to sing and is the best way to live out your rock n’ roll fantasies as you pine over your former lover’s memory.

7. Madonna – “Like a Prayer”

Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” is one of the most requested songs by karaoke enthusiasts. The music video was controversial thanks to its use of Catholic imagery, while the song’s gospel-like structure and hooks make it really easy to sing along to.

8. Bruce Springsteen – “Born in the U.S.A.”

Is there a better song to rally an audience with American patriotic passion? Bruce Springsteen’s most popular single is also his most misunderstood. While many mistake its American nationalism surface for unbridled patriotism, “Born in the U.S.A.” is a song about the negative effects of the Vietnam War on working-class Americans. Its catchy arena rock structure masks its deeper themes.

9. Sir-Mix-A-Lot – “Baby Got Back”

With the first line in the song—“I like big butts and I cannot lie”—Sir-Mix-A-Lot conveys so much about what we perceive as beauty and what we actually find beautiful and attractive. The song was the only number one hit from the Seattle-based rapper; “Baby Got Back” serves as the perfect novelty song and a popular karaoke choice. Sir-Mix-A-Lot also won a Grammy Award in 1993 for Best Rap Solo Performance.

10. The B-52s – “Love Shack”

Although The B-52s have been making music since 1976, “Love Shack” became their biggest hit song in 1989. The song stands as the perfect mix between a novelty and nostalgic pop song, which makes it one of the most requested songs at karaoke bars across the country.

11. Joan Jett & The Blackhearts – “I Love Rock N’ Roll”

Originally written and released by the rock band Arrows in 1975, “I Love Rock N’ Roll” was popularized when Joan Jett & The Blackhearts covered the rock song in 1981. The song continues to be an anthem of youthful rebellion and casual sex as the music video launched MTV in the music cable network’s early beginnings. “I Love Rock N’ Roll” is one of the most requested songs because it’s simple to sing for karaoke beginners and pros alike.

12. Sublime – “Santeria”

Released after lead singer Bradley Nowell’s death in 1997, “Santeria” is the punk-ska band's biggest pop song as it crossed the niche genre into mainstream pop culture status. The song cracked the Top 5 on Billboard’s music chart and continues to be popular on video games like Guitar Hero World Tour and Rock Band 3.

13. Alannah Myles – “Black Velvet”

This song from Canadian singer/songwriter Alannah Myles hit number one on Billboard’s music chart in 1989. The song stayed on top of the charts for two weeks and earned Myles a Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Vocalist. The song was inspired by a bus ride to Graceland in Memphis for the 10th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death. “Black Velvet” continues to be a karaoke staple around the world.

14. “Summer Nights” from the Grease Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

The most requested duet was made popular by the film adaptation of the musical Grease. The song was a big hit in the United States and the United Kingdom, while the record went gold and platinum, respectively. In the film, John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John sang the duet about a high school summer romance, while couples re-enact the absurdity of wholesome Americana in karaoke bars.

15. Journey – “Don’t Stop Believin’’”

“Don’t Stop Believin’” is often described as the perfect rock song and an anthem for anyone who hasn’t lost hope in the face of adversity. The song found new life in 2009 when the TV drama Glee performed it in their premiere episode. The song is the biggest hit from the San Francisco-based rock band and remains Journey’s most popular song; in 2011, it became the most downloaded song on Apple's iTunes store with over 5 million digital copies sold.

Sources: US Karaoke Alliance; Squidoo; 999thepoint; RequestYourSong.com; PartySpecialists.com; the writer's personal karaoke experience.

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April 22, 2013 - 11:00am
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