Satan’s iPod IV: Karaoke Edition

The Chicago Tribune printed an article last Sunday about the worst songs ever performed by karaoke singers.
Now, I am not one to brag… and in fact, I won’t. Martini-induced singing is best left to the memories of Saturday nights that have faded with the ink on the request slips you pass to the karaoke “J.”
That said, here’s the list and my comments.

“American Pie” – Easy to sing, but this is one long song. The audience will get antsy right around “Helter Skelter in a summer swelter.” Another one of those songs DJs used to play when they needed a restroom break.
“Crazy” – There’s a special breed of people who are convinced they are the reincarnation of Patsy Cline. I’ve heard okay performances of this and many more lousy ones.
“Diamonds and Rust” – Until this article, I never knew this was a karaoke selection at all. This is one bummer of a song– I mean, Joan Baez is a legend and all, but come on– isn’t karaoke about fun?
“I Will Survive” – (see “Respect” in the Movie Soundtrack Edition of Satan’s iPod.) The crowds are usually mixed on this one; I’m not a big fan. In fact, I prefer the Perry Como version on SCTV.
“Mack The Knife” – I once read that every guy in the world wants to attempt this song at least once in karaoke. It sounds easy (we’re talking about the Bobby Darin version, I assume), but the lyrics are really awkward and it’s easy to go from fun to bad. This is another song that, if you look at Brecht’s original lyrics as translated from German, is a major bummer. I prefer the Ernie Kovacs version, myself.
“Piano Man” – I was at a party once when a guy got up and belted this one. Yeah, it’s another bummer of a song, but in the right hands it can be pulled off.
“Shake Your Booty” – Huh??
“Stairway to Heaven” – I would buy a drink for whoever has the guts to actually get up and attempt to sing this.
“Summer Nights” – Invariably, some couple will get up and do this song on your designated karaoke night. Don’t be too hard on them, for they know not what they are getting themselves into.
“Tears in Heaven” – Man, what is it with these bummer songs?? I turned this song off every time I heard it on the radio, who in their right mind would want to subject a bar crowd to it?
“The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” – A bunch of guys on an overloaded iron ore ship runs into a storm in Lake Superior. The ship sinks and everyone dies. Give me another Miller Lite. Seriously, I like this song, but I don’t know why anyone would do this to their friends and acquaintances.
The writers of the article also mention “Guys singing girl songs” as a bad thing. This category includes “Havin’ My Baby” (which as I recall was a girl and a guy song), “At Seventeen” (see “Stairway to Heaven” above), and “It’s In His Kiss.” I would also add “Wannabe” by the Spice Girls– I saw and heard that one night and it still haunts me.
Now, I could sit here and rag on all these songs and the people who have attempted them, but I’ll put myself on the line and add a personal experience.
The first time I ever attempted karaoke was with a bunch of people from my office. One of the guys and I got up and attempted the Beatles’ “If I Fell” in an attempt to get the ladies to swoon. The problem was that we didn’t decide ahead of time who was going to be Paul and who was John, so we each jumped around trying to cover the other guy, and the whole thing turned out to be pretty awful.
So with that in mind, enjoy the upcoming weekend.



  1. “American Pie”…all I can think of is standing in a dark frat house, illuminated only by neon beer signs swiped from local bars, sweaty bodies packed together, holding Solo cups of cheap beer, everyone singing at the top of their lungs, the guys trying to impress the girls with their soulful renditions, trying not to screw up the words.
    I have no plans to *ever* sing karaoke. Unless you want to sing “Paradise by the Dashboard Lights” with me. 🙂

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