Top 100 Piano Bar Songs

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 TitleAs Made Famous ByListen
1Ain’t Too Proud to BegTemptations
2Oh, Boy!Buddy Holly
3All Shook UpElvis
4American PieDon McLean
5Drive My CarBeatles
6Barbara AnnBeach Boys
7Bennie and the JetsElton John
8Blue Suede ShoesElvis
9Blueberry HillFats Domino
10Bohemian RhapsodyQueen
11A Boy Named SueJohnny Cash
12Brown Eyed GirlVan Morrison
13Build Me Up ButtercupThe Foundations
14California Dreamin’Mamas and the Papas
15Copacabana (At the Copa)Barry Manilow
16Crocodile RockElton John
17Dancing QueenAbba
18December, 1963 (Oh What a Night!)Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons
19Don’t Stop Believin’Journey
20FaithfullyJourney
21Friends in Low PlacesGarth Brooks
22Glory DaysBruce Springsteen
23Good Golly Miss MollyLittle Richard
24Great Balls of FireJerry Lee Lewis
25Hang On SloopyThe McCoys
26Here I Go AgainWhitesnake
27Hey JudeBeatles
28Hey Ya!Outkast
29Hit Me With Your Best ShotPat Benetar
30House of the Rising SunThe Animals
31How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)James Taylor
32I Feel GoodJames Brown
33You’re the One That I WantGrease
34I Love Rock ‘N RollJoan Jett & the Blackhearts
35I Saw Her Standing ThereBeatles
36I Want You to Want MeCheap Trick
37I Will SurviveGloria Gaynor
38It’s Not UnusualTom Jones
39Jack and DianeJohn Cougar Mellencamp
40Jailhouse RockElvis
41Jessie’s GirlRick Springfield
42Just a Gigolo/I Ain’t Got NobodyLuis Prima/David Lee Roth
43Kansas CityWilbert Harrison
44King of the RoadRoger Miller
45KodachromePaul Simon
46La BambaTraditional
47Livin’ on a PrayerBon Jovi
48Love ShackThe B-52s
49Maggie MayRod Stewart
50Me and Bobby McGeeJanis Joplin
51Me and Julio Down By the SchoolyardPaul Simon
52Mony MonyTommy James and the Shondells
53Mustang SallyWilson Picket
54My GirlTemptations
55Theme from New York, New YorkFrank Sinatra / [standard]
56Ob-La-Di Ob-La-DaBeatles
57Oh, Pretty WomanRoy Orbison
58Only the Good Die YoungBilly Joel
59Paradise By the Dashboard LightMeatloaf
60The Perfect Country and Western SongDavid Allan Coe
61Piano ManBilly Joel
62Pour Some Sugar On MeDef Leppard
63Proud MaryTina Turner / Creedence Clearwater Revival
64Red, Red WineUB40
65RespectAretha Franklin
66Ring of FireJohnny Cash
67Rock and Roll MusicChuck Berry
68Rock Around the ClockBill Haley & His Comets
69Rocky Top[standard]
70Sexual HealingMarvin Gaye
71Shake a Tail FeatherBlues Brothers/Tina Turner/others
72ShoutThe Isley Brothers
73(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the BayOtis Redding
74Smells Like Teen SpiritNirvana
75Stand by MeBen E. King
76It’s Still Rock and Roll to MeBilly Joel
77Summer NightsGrease
78Surfin’ U.S.A.Beach Boys
79Suspicious MindsElvis
80Sweet CarolineNeil Diamond
81Sweet Child O’ MineGuns and Roses
82Sweet Home AlabamaLynard Skynard
83Sweet Home Chicago[standard] / Blues Brothers
84Take Me Home, Country RoadsJohn Denver
85Takin’ Care of BusinessRandy Bachman
86Thank God I’m a Country BoyJohn Denver
87The JokerSteve Miller
88These Boots Are Made for WalkingNancy Sinatra
89Time WarpRocky Horror Picture Show
90Tiny DancerElton John
91Tutti-FruttiLittle Richard
92Twist and ShoutThe Beatles / The Isley Brothers
93Under the BoardwalkThe Drifters
94Uptown GirlBilly Joel
95Walking On SunshineAly & AJ
96We’re Not Gonna Take ItTwisted Sister
97What I Like About YouThe Romantics
98What’s Up?4 Non Blondes
99Whole Lot of Shakin’ Going OnJerry Lee Lewis
100Wooly BullySam the Sam and the Pharoahs
101Yellow SubmarineBeatles
102You Give Love a Bad NameBon Jovi
103You Shook Me All Night LongAC/DC
104Your SongElton John

Published by

David J. Hahn

David J. Hahn

David J. Hahn (@davidjhahn) is the co-founder of MusicianWages.com and a former Broadway conductor. He grew up near Chicago, lived in New York City, and settled in California. In 2012, he left the music business to found California Surfcraft, a San Francisco-based start-up that makes high-performance surf gear out of fiberglass-reinforced cork. He is the inventor of the Bodypo®, a sustainable alternative to the traditional bodyboard. He is a cancer survivor, an advocate for unlikely career paths, and, beginning in spring of 2015, a father.

22 thoughts on “Top 100 Piano Bar Songs”

  1. 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. 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. 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. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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!!! :)

  7. 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’.

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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!

  11. 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?

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