A Song to Own Karaoke With Even If You Can't Sing

I'm a decent singer, but I think the idea of making people listen to a decent singer is a strange waste of people's time. So when I do karaoke I always choose a song that gives me an opportunity to do a lot of crowd work, because I'm much better at bullshitting behind a mic than singing. For that reason I always pick a song with a somewhat talk-y verse and a simple chorus. Something like Undone (The Sweater Song) by Weezer or Popular by Nada Surf. These songs have such a natural build to them that the audience is always on board and will take over the chorus. So you can just stick to the talky verse part if you want, and you don't even really need to say whatever the actual lyrics are. Just talk.

My go-to song is, "Mama Told Me Not To Come" by Three Dog Night. But instead of singing the actual verse, which describes a crazy party, I sing about the room we were in and the crowd that is there while I'm singing. As if this present moment was what Mama had warned me against. When the chorus comes around, the audience is turnt up and ready to sing along. 

But that song require a bit of musicianship to sing along to and come up with a rhyming verse on the spot. If musical improv isn't your forte, and you can't sing very well, there is still a song you can get away with just prattling on during the verse and the audience is always hyped for the chorus.

Spill the Wine by Eric Burdon and the Animals.

This song hardly requires any real singing at all. Just riff on some trippy bullshit. Say whatever you see around you:

There's Teddy in accounting
You know that guy's trouble
How them nachos, Teddy?
I hear that. You can't deny that melted cheese.
I eat me some cheese
Yeah that long string cheese
And then I say
I say

Spill the wine! Take that pearl!

The only lyric I actually stick to is in the verse where he's talking about the girls and he's like:

There was long ones, tall ones, short ones, brown ones
Black ones, round ones, big ones, crazy ones

And I point to different women in the audience as examples of each "type." I just do it randomly but it never fails to piss people off. Especially the round ones and the crazy ones. 

It's always a big hit. Give it a shot.

By the way, the absolute 100% best talky-verse/rockin'-chorus song is Moulty by The Barbarians. I wish it was more famous because it would be my karaoke jam. You see, Victor "Moulty" Molton was the drummer for the Barbarians. And he only had one hand because he blew the other one off as a kid making homemade explosives. And so the first few verses are him telling you not to give up because he only has one hand and he's a drummer in a rock band. And this alternates with a killer chorus where the rest of the band sings:

Don't turn away

With the lead singer screaming words of encouragement in a response to the "Don't turn away" chant.

And then Moulty comes back for the final verse where he tells us, that yeah, everything is great, but what he wants now is a girl -- a real girl -- so he can feel complete. The whole song is this crazy mix of earnestness and 60s rock and it's super great. They say not many people bought the first Velvet Underground record, but everyone who did started a band. Well, not many people under the age of 60 are familiar with the song Moulty, but everyone who is will want to blow off their hand in a homemade explosive accident.