Top 10 Songs That Are Rarely Played Live



Top 10 Songs That Are Rarely Played Live

VOICE OVER: Ryan Wild WRITTEN BY: Felix Quinonez
No at songs are meant to be played live. For this list, we'll be looking at the tunes that musicians tend to avoid using in public performances. Our countdown includes "Creep", “Just the Way You Are”, “Party in the U.S.A.”, and more!

Top 10 Songs That Are Never/Rarely played Live

Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Songs That Are Never or Rarely played Live.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the tunes that musicians tend to avoid using in public performances.

Were you lucky enough to hear any of these songs live? Let us know in the comments below.

#10: “1999”

The title of this once forward-looking classic eventually became a little dated once we entered the new millennium. That certainly didn’t go unnoticed by the legendary purple one himself. Although we don’t think anyone would have complained, Prince decided to retire it from live performances once the millennium began. He initially gave the song the sendoff it deserved by playing it at a concert that aired on New Year’s Eve in 2000. Luckily, retirements don’t always stick in the music world. Prince brought the song back at the Super Bowl halftime show in 2007 and kept playing it afterward.

#9: “Just the Way You Are”

Billy Joel
Few things have inspired more songs than love. But what happens when that love ends? Billy Joel originally wrote this beloved track for his wife as a birthday present. However, when their marriage ended in 1982, the song lost some of its appeal for the singer. At least his drummer, Liberty DeVitto, was able to find some humor in the situation by changing some of the lyrics to, “she got the house, she got the car.” However, the iconic singer explained that after the divorce, he no longer enjoyed performing the song. He took it off concert setlists for over a decade. Fortunately, in the 2000s, the piano man finally brought the song out of retirement.

#8: “Shiny Happy People”

No artist ever knows which songs will connect with audiences. Based on what we know about “Shiny Happy People” R.E.M. may have been shocked when this song became an inescapable smash. Singer Michael Stipe claimed it was "written for children," and bassist Mike Mills wasn’t fond of it either. That's why it didn't take long for it to disappear from concert setlists. They didn't even include it on their 2003 compilation album. However, over the years, the singer's stance on the song seems to have softened. In an interview, he explained that if it's important to fans, he doesn't "want to take that from them."

#7: “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!)”

Beastie Boys
Career-defining anthems don’t get much more iconic than this classic hip-hop track. The song turned the group into stars, helped their debut album sell millions of records, and is still beloved today. Unfortunately, it turns out the irony of the song was lost on many listeners. The group intended to make fun of frat-boy antics with this track. However, it ended up turning them into the poster boys for the very thing they were taunting. Initially, they were ok with playing along. But they grew uncomfortable when they realized they might be promoting values and behavior they were against. Their hang ups over the song caused the Beastie Boys to largely stop performing it live and to only bring it out occasionally throughout their storied career.

#6: “It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)”

It's no surprise that fans want to hear their favorite songs when they go to a concert. However, it's hard to believe anyone would fault the band for excluding this beloved track from their live shows. This iconic song was written and sung by the band's original singer Bon Scott. Unfortunately, he passed away in 1980 at the young age of 33. Although the band considered breaking up, they decided to keep going and enlisted Brian Johnson as their new singer. Johnson decided to honor Scott’s memory by not including this song in their setlists. The band hasn't performed the track since 1979.

#5: “Party in the U.S.A.”

Miley Cyrus
Although the song was initially written for Jessie J., it’s hard to imagine anyone other than Miley Cyrus singing it. The song is a breezy anthem that almost demands to be sung along to. Although many people consider it her signature song, the singer wasn’t all that fond of it. She mainly chose to include it on her EP The Time of Our lives because she needed more songs. She never felt it adequately represented her as an artist. Over the years, Cyrus expressed ambivalence towards it and hinted that it’s unlikely you’ll see her belting out this tune. She’s definitely gone on to make a few more iconic songs that better suit her style since then.

#4: “The Conjuring”

Ever since he was a teenager, lead singer Dave Mustaine was intrigued by black magic. So, it’s not surprising that his band’s music would occasionally dabble in that subject matter. However, the singer lost interest in singing about the occult, black magic, or witchcraft when he became a born-again Christian. He even went as far as to claim that black magic ruined his life. Mustaine’s beliefs are the main reason why the band stopped playing this song in 2001. However, in 2016, the singer explained that he wouldn’t “mind doing the song again, cause it is a good song.” And in 2018, the band played it live for the first time in 17 years.

#3: “Big Me”

Foo Fighters
The Foo Fighters seem to genuinely enjoy making their music videos. Their love for the medium is perhaps most evident in the clip for the fourth single off their debut album. They chose to use “Big Me” to parody the Mentos commercials that were popular at the time. Unfortunately, this pushed fans to throw mentos at the Foo Fighters during live performances of the song. The band understandably didn’t enjoy having things thrown at them and ceased performing it altogether. However, hearing Weezer cover the song on a joint tour made the band want to perform it again. “Big Me” returned to their setlists not long after.

#2: “Creep”

Few bands burst onto the scene as successfully as Radiohead. Their debut single became a career-defining anthem that earned them millions of fans. At the same time, it marked a time where the group was still figuring out who they were. Since they didn’t want to be defined by a song from the start of their career, they began to resent it. It certainly didn’t help that some fans would request the song and leave immediately after hearing it. Eventually, the band became so tired of the song that they refused to play it and occasionally became hostile towards requests. But maybe absence made the heart grow fonder. In 2016, the band started performing the song at concerts again.

#1: “Stairway To Heaven”

Led Zeppelin
This seminal rock band broke up in 1980 after the tragic death of drummer John Bonham. However, their legendary frontman Robert Plant never stopped making music. Over time, he’s encountered countless requests to play what many consider one of the greatest songs of all time. Plant had expressed that he has no desire to play that song live. He explained that he’d “break out in hives” if that was a constant on his setlists. However, the singer has no harsh feelings toward the song or his past band. Instead, he considers it part of a time in his life that he’s closed the book on.
I tried to watch this on YouTube, but the really thin brassy earsplitting audio gives me an instant tension in my head. It seems all of Ryan%u2019s videos are that way. I wish he would upgrade his audio to the level of the female narrators.