Sunday, May 30, 2010

Stocking the Pride Songbook

Sitting in a microbrewery in Old San Juan last night (long story, I'll get to it), and after the band finished their set, a group of drunken patrons gathered around the piano and began to sing familiar songs while their friend - a pretty facile player - accompanied them.

They started out with a Spanish-language version of Hey Jude.  Yesenia turned to me and said (slightly drunkenly), "Baby, you should show them how it's done!"  Which was pretty much what I'd already been thinking, but then it occurred to me that the pack of piano songs I carry around in my head really aren't ideal for public singalongs.  Sure, I can play through all of Shine On, You Crazy Diamond by heart if you have twenty minutes to kill, but, let's face it - ARP solos and blues guitar riffing lose something in translation to solo piano.

Also, the guy currently playing was better than me, so if I were to sit down and play, I'd better bring the material to mask my shortcomings.  More artists have built their success on such a dodge, so I'd be in good company.

The piano songs I do carry around with me aren't much more worthy as crowd pleasers.  The minute I lay down the first 16 bars of Miami 2017 is pretty much the point at which I expect the room to be empty.

So the solution would seem to be either a) commit to memory songs that people actually want to hear, or b) put my ego away and dismiss such thoughts as the silly things they are.  Obviously, I'm too emotionally stunted for 'b,' so it falls to me to select a few songs and then learn how to play them.

I reached that conclusion sitting at the bar, nursing our sampler round, but I just couldn't think of what songs those would be, and no-one else could, either.  Yesenia's friend Anthony, staying on the Billy Joel tip, suggested You May Be Right, but I pointed out that he may be crazy, since the song is mostly a guitar driven new wave pastiche, right from the opening riff.

So let's consider this Rambler a call for song suggestions. And it may be your own sanity you save, since chances are good you'll be at a public place with me, a piano and some alcohol at some point in the future, so you'd better pick wisely.  Consider this the jukebox of the misty future, and put your virtual quarters in now.  Songs should be well known, catchy, with piano prominently featured (or an adaptable guitar arrangement), and it wouldn't hurt if there were a nice little tinkly bit so I can show off my mad skills.  Or lack thereof.



Unknown said...

Khia: My Neck My Back
Sir Mix-A-Lot: Baby Got Back
Vanity: Pretty Mess
Sheena Easton: Sugar Walls
Christina Milian feat. Fabolous: Dip It Low

shaunian said...

Journey: "Don't Stop Believin'"
Rihanna: "Please Don't Stop the Music"
The Who: "Baba O'Reily"
Anything by Gary Glitter

Noah said...

assuming that these are tunes that would also be sung (as opposed to played instrumentally as a solo piano piece).

- Piano Man (if i had $5 for every request i've ever gotten for that one . . .)
- Imagine
- Let It Be
- Angie
- Bennie and the Jets

and a bonus 2 if can get a touch more obscure:

- Maybe I'm Amazed
- After the Gold Rush

Dave Kopperman said...

'Don't Stop Believin': Yes, although I'll have to transpose it to sing it without sounding like a total idiot. It would be like my attempts to sing Zeppelin, only much, much lousier.

Oddly, I already do have most of the songs that Noah suggests in my head somewhere (excluding 'Angie' and 'Bennie'), but somehow failed to consider them. Which means that I may not have fully considered the implications of this endeavor.

I'll add 'Angie' tout suite.


Dave Kopperman said...

And while a solo piano version of 'Baby Got Back' would be pretty awesome, I know I am not the man to deliver it.