This is a list of 7 songs bands commonly play in bars in the southeastern United States. These “standards” seem to remain popular to the bar crowd even though many are dated. It is obvious that many of the songs are rocked up remakes of old blues songs or have blues roots.
Road House Blues – The Doors
This top bar band rock song is actually a blues rock song. “Road House Blues” appeared on The Doors album Morrison Motel was released as a single in 1970. The song did not hit high on the charts but it is still being played extensively live.
Spooky- Atlanta Rhythm Section
Originally a sax solo by Mike Sharpe, otherwise known as Shapiro. Shapiro recorded “Spooky” in 1967. Lyrics were later added and “Spooky” was covered by many well-known artists. Most musicians agree that the version by the Atlanta Rhythm Section is by far the best one. ARS definitely found the right groove for the song. The key change the band put in the song elevated it to a new level.
Pride and Joy – Stevie Ray Vaughn
“Pride and Joy” is one of SRV’s most famous songs. The song has been used in a commercial and is a standard with guitar oriented video games. You will hear this song still being played quite often in bars across the United States and parts of the world.
Mustang Sally – Mack Rice
Recorded in 1965 by Mike Rice, “Mustang Sally” was covered later by Wilson Pickett. A huge number of bands rock up this blues song and play it extensively. “Mustang Sally” is one of the top bar songs ever.
Johnny B. Goode – Chuck Berry
Chuck Berry admits this song is a lot about himself. Recorded in 1955, “Johnny B. Goode” is one of the defining Rock and Roll songs of the era. If there was ever an American rock song that defines American rock derived from the blues, this is it. There probably isn’t a bar musician player alive that hasn’t played this song many times.
Keep Your Hands to Yourself – Georgia Satellites
It is puzzling why this song is so popular with the rock bar crowd. Country bands also play this song a lot since it was covered by Hank Williams, Jr. I think Hank’s version was better than the original recording by the Georgia Satellites.
Hard to Handle – Black Crowes
“Hard to Handle” was originally written and recorded in 1968 by Otis Redding. When the Black Crowes released their version of the song many rock bands picked it up as a bar song.
Some may disagree with the selection. The songs made the list based on personal experience. I have looked through many set lists of other rock bar bands in the United States. This list of top bar band rock songs seems to be valid for the entire country.
Sources: Personal experience.