This list is from my personal files and actually includes 104 songs. I compiled this list of songs from watching and talking to other piano bar entertainers, and from years of research. If anyone is looking to get into this gig, this is a good place to start.

The links below will take you to the iTunes Music Store, where you can preview or download these recordings. MusicianWages.com receives 4% of anything you buy here and we very much appreciate your support.

Song Title As Made Famous By Listen
1 Ain’t Too Proud to Beg Temptations
2 Oh, Boy! Buddy Holly
3 All Shook Up Elvis
4 American Pie Don McLean
5 Drive My Car Beatles
6 Barbara Ann Beach Boys
7 Bennie and the Jets Elton John
8 Blue Suede Shoes Elvis
9 Blueberry Hill Fats Domino
10 Bohemian Rhapsody Queen
11 A Boy Named Sue Johnny Cash
12 Brown Eyed Girl Van Morrison
13 Build Me Up Buttercup The Foundations
14 California Dreamin’ Mamas and the Papas
15 Copacabana (At the Copa) Barry Manilow
16 Crocodile Rock Elton John
17 Dancing Queen Abba
18 December, 1963 (Oh What a Night!) Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons
19 Don’t Stop Believin’ Journey
20 Faithfully Journey
21 Friends in Low Places Garth Brooks
22 Glory Days Bruce Springsteen
23 Good Golly Miss Molly Little Richard
24 Great Balls of Fire Jerry Lee Lewis
25 Hang On Sloopy The McCoys
26 Here I Go Again Whitesnake
27 Hey Jude Beatles
28 Hey Ya! Outkast
29 Hit Me With Your Best Shot Pat Benetar
30 House of the Rising Sun The Animals
31 How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) James Taylor
32 I Feel Good James Brown
33 You’re the One That I Want Grease
34 I Love Rock ‘N Roll Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
35 I Saw Her Standing There Beatles
36 I Want You to Want Me Cheap Trick
37 I Will Survive Gloria Gaynor
38 It’s Not Unusual Tom Jones
39 Jack and Diane John Cougar Mellencamp
40 Jailhouse Rock Elvis
41 Jessie’s Girl Rick Springfield
42 Just a Gigolo/I Ain’t Got Nobody Luis Prima/David Lee Roth
43 Kansas City Wilbert Harrison
44 King of the Road Roger Miller
45 Kodachrome Paul Simon
46 La Bamba Traditional
47 Livin’ on a Prayer Bon Jovi
48 Love Shack The B-52s
49 Maggie May Rod Stewart
50 Me and Bobby McGee Janis Joplin
51 Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard Paul Simon
52 Mony Mony Tommy James and the Shondells
53 Mustang Sally Wilson Picket
54 My Girl Temptations
55 Theme from New York, New York Frank Sinatra / [standard]
56 Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da Beatles
57 Oh, Pretty Woman Roy Orbison
58 Only the Good Die Young Billy Joel
59 Paradise By the Dashboard Light Meatloaf
60 The Perfect Country and Western Song David Allan Coe
61 Piano Man Billy Joel
62 Pour Some Sugar On Me Def Leppard
63 Proud Mary Tina Turner / Creedence Clearwater Revival
64 Red, Red Wine UB40
65 Respect Aretha Franklin
66 Ring of Fire Johnny Cash
67 Rock and Roll Music Chuck Berry
68 Rock Around the Clock Bill Haley & His Comets
69 Rocky Top [standard]
70 Sexual Healing Marvin Gaye
71 Shake a Tail Feather Blues Brothers/Tina Turner/others
72 Shout The Isley Brothers
73 (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay Otis Redding
74 Smells Like Teen Spirit Nirvana
75 Stand by Me Ben E. King
76 It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me Billy Joel
77 Summer Nights Grease
78 Surfin’ U.S.A. Beach Boys
79 Suspicious Minds Elvis
80 Sweet Caroline Neil Diamond
81 Sweet Child O’ Mine Guns and Roses
82 Sweet Home Alabama Lynard Skynard
83 Sweet Home Chicago [standard] / Blues Brothers
84 Take Me Home, Country Roads John Denver
85 Takin’ Care of Business Randy Bachman
86 Thank God I’m a Country Boy John Denver
87 The Joker Steve Miller
88 These Boots Are Made for Walking Nancy Sinatra
89 Time Warp Rocky Horror Picture Show
90 Tiny Dancer Elton John
91 Tutti-Frutti Little Richard
92 Twist and Shout The Beatles / The Isley Brothers
93 Under the Boardwalk The Drifters
94 Uptown Girl Billy Joel
95 Walking On Sunshine Aly & AJ
96 We’re Not Gonna Take It Twisted Sister
97 What I Like About You The Romantics
98 What’s Up? 4 Non Blondes
99 Whole Lot of Shakin’ Going On Jerry Lee Lewis
100 Wooly Bully Sam the Sam and the Pharoahs
101 Yellow Submarine Beatles
102 You Give Love a Bad Name Bon Jovi
103 You Shook Me All Night Long AC/DC
104 Your Song Elton John

22 Responses to Top 100 Piano Bar Songs

  1. Eugene says:

    Thank you so much!! Now I know where to start! I’ve been hoping to get a piano bar gig for some time now, but this has always kept me back (I’m mostly classical/improv in my performance experience, and hardly know a lot of these need-to-know standards).

    :) Appreciated.
    -E

  2. Lucky says:

    Excellent list – thanks! I was glad to see that over half of these are already in my repertoire – so I must be doing something right. Those that weren’t are great for adding new tunes and keeping my regular gigs fresh.

    Cheers,
    Lucky

  3. Steven Lowenthal says:

    Pay attention to Standards and Broadway — if you find yourself on traveling route, rather than a party itinerary(or Fun Ship), be aware that the passenger list may be more international, older, and like American baby-boomers they may have a wider frame of reference. There’s a reason why Rod Stewart has sold so many standards recordings.
    Standards = what some youngster call ‘classics’. No, They are Standards.

    Sometimes the piano bar can be a romantic spot, so you need to know how to play “As Time Goes By”(CASABLANCA), “Moon River”, “At Last”(big band OR R&B), and “It Had to Be You” and a good helping of classic Broadway. BY HEART !!
    Be aware that a huge percentage of the Sinatra/standards repertoire is Broadway showtunes – “The Lady is A Tramp”,”I Get a Kick Out of You”. Do not tell older passengers you don’t do any Cole Porter/ Gershwin/ Irving Berlin/ Johnny Mercer, etc….
    And I don’t see “Over The Rainbow” on this list. Astonishing.

    Perhaps “Piano Bar” is a wilder, drunker, dopier thing than I learned to do 30 years ago — but those songs I’ve mentioned are highly requested in my shipboard experience, even from younger patrons on the Holland America Line, which is known for an older clientele. (I should say that I myself prefer travelers to partiers.)

    So do not ignore the boomers, they are becoming what is known as the Mariners – older folks with some money. Some of them do report avoiding cruise ship piano bars.

    Thanks for a good site, David Hahn.

  4. Great list – very modern. Do you sing as well ? I play Smells like teen spirit and Dock of the bay too, don’t sing though.

    Mine’s here:

    http://www.wedding-pianist.biz/repertoire.php

  5. George says:

    Were can i find the piano sheets of these songs ? (free)

  6. Juan says:

    OK, these all rock, but your missing The Galway Girl… maybe you should make this list 101 Top Piano Bar Songs. I live in Las Vegas and when that song plays the crowed just gos crazy.

    just my 2 cents.

  7. Diane Rostad says:

    Hello,
    I have applied to a cruiseship agency for a female vocalist position and have sent my dvd, resume, headshot, repertoire, etc.almost two week’s ago. I am wondering what the procedure is; if they will get in touch with me or just send it out to the cruise ships or just not say anything. Also, was wondering if it is wise to send my package out to other agency’s or directly to cruise ships or just wait on the first one.. Not sure how all this works.

    Thanks you for your help.

  8. Thank you for sharing this list you have added some must have songs which are not currently in my repertoire. I will of course be adding them.

  9. Paddy says:

    What about:

    The Way It Is” by Bruce Hornsby and the Range

    ??

  10. Amber says:

    David
    Awesome List! – Thank you so much for sharing. I love piano bars and we are hiring a piano player for my 30th Birthday bash in Austin TX. This list was very helpful!!! :)

  11. Laure-Anne says:

    Thanks a lot for this one. Now I have a catalogue of songs to work on. Am a classical pianist but I’d like to try my hand at ‘pop’.

  12. martin says:

    I am after a list of songs played a lot on cruise ships so I can start learning them for drumming.
    Any ideas? links etc?
    Thanks

  13. Barrie says:

    Any idea where I can get hold of a decent piano bar songbook with just the chords and lyrics I.e. Not the full score. I assume some pianists must be sharing these online but I have’t tracked one down yet

  14. Enrique says:

    Thank you, incredible list! I am 15 and I am currently trying to play piano in bars and this has really shed some light! Maybe Born To Run by Bruce Springsteen and Country Roads by John Denver should be there? However it is amazing that there are only 2 notable omissions!

  15. Philippa says:

    I love your list but I’m in New Zealand and I’m not able to download any of the songs – apparently they’re not available in New Zealand. Do you know any way around this?

  16. Curmudgeon10 says:

    Interesting list, but when I think piano bar, I think Cole Porter, Gershwin, etc.

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