The Ultimate Karaoke Song List Through the Decades

“It’s nine o’clock on a Saturday (or Sunday-- you know if you know)
The regular crowd shuffles in.”

If the tune of this song is going through your head, then you’re either a Billy Joel fan or you’re a karaoke regular. Piano Man is just one of many classic songs you’ll hear at your local bar’s karaoke night. If you don’t know the song, click here. But if this isn’t enticing, no worries! Whether you’re a fan of country, pop, rock, or hip hop, karaoke has something to offer for everyone. It’s a time to get together with different people and harmonize to songs of our time and the past.

If you know me, you’ve probably heard me rhapsodize over karaoke night and no, I’ll never stop. I can’t think of a better way to end the night than belting the best throwback songs of our generation, alongside friends and newly acquainted drunk strangers.


“Sing us a song, you’re the piano man. Sing us a song tonight. Well, we’re all in the mood for a melody and you’ve got us feelin’ alright” -- Billy Joel

From private lounges to local dive bars, Chicago is not short of places where you can show off your skills, while throwing back a few (maybe more) drinks.

Standing up in front of a crowd, let alone singing, can be intimidating! That’s where the key comes in- booze. If you go to the right places, chances are there are wallet-friendly drink specials that will leave you feeling good all night. Another plus,everyone else is drunk too. But above all, remember that energy always trumps talent, so don’t worry if you’re tone deaf like me!

To help you with your song selection, I’ve put together a playlist of the ultimate karaoke songs that are  guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser. Whether it’s your Sunday night ritual at The Oasis Tavern or a spur of the moment decision to head over to McGees, this list will help you kill it on the stage.

Best 70’s Karaoke Songs

~ Queen, Aerosmith, ABBA, Jackson 5, Led Zeppelin, Elton John. The 70’s are truly timeless!~

  1. I Will Survive -- Gloria Gaynor

    ~ Sing it LOUD and sing it PROUD, sista ~

  1. I Want You Back -- Jackson 5

  2. Hey Jude -- The Beatles

  3. Take Me Home, Country Roads -- John Denver

  4. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough -- Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell

    ~ If you’re confident in your skills, go ahead and take on both parts ;) ~

  1. Killing Me Softly -- Roberta Flack or The Fugees

  2. Jolene -- Dolly Parton

  3. Stayin Alive -- Bee Gees

  4. Sweet Caroline -- Neil Diamond

  5. Somebody to Love -- Queen

~ Guaranteed to turn into a crowd sing along. Let’s be honest, you can never go wrong with a Queen song ~

Best 80’s Karaoke Songs

~ Madonna, Bryan Adams, Journey, The Eagles, Wham. The golden era of pop: The 80’s ~

  1. Hotel California -- The Eagles

  2. Like a Prayer -- Madonna

    ~ Channel your inner 80’s pop QUEEN ~

  1. I Love Rock n’ Roll -- Joan Jett & the Blackhearts

  2. The Time of My Life -- Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes

  3. I Wanna Dance With Somebody -- Whitney Houston

    ~ One word: POWERHOUSE ~

  1. Livin’ On a Prayer -- Bon Jovi

  2. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun -- Cyndi Lauper

  3. You’re the One that I Want -- Grease

  4. Don’t Stop Believin’ -- Journey

  5. You Shook Me All Night Long -- AC/DC

~ If you’re really feeling brave, take on Thunderstruck. There won’t be a lot of singing, but grab a beer (possibly for an all bar drinking game?) for this one, because it sends the crowd WILD ~

Best 90’s Karaoke Songs

~ Britney Spears, Nirvana, No Doubt, 2Pac, NSYNC, Boyz II Men. The 90’s was an eclectic explosion of music ~

  1. Don’t Speak -- No Doubt

  2. Wannabe -- The Spice Girls

~ In honor of The Spice Girls reunion, pick your Scary, Sporty, Baby, Ginger, Posh and get your zig-a-zig on ~

  1. The Boy is Mine -- Brandy & Monica

  2. Wonderwall -- Oasis

  3. Waterfalls -- TLC

    ~ This song will up the crowd spirits and spark major 90s nostalgia ~

  1. Fresh Prince of Bel Aire

  2. Smells Like Teen Spirit -- Green Day  

  3. This Is How We Do It -- Montell Jordan

  4. All The Small Things -- Blink 182

  5. I Want It That Way -- The Backstreet Boys

~ The boyband debate still prevails today: NSYNC or The Backstreet Boys? Whichever you choose to fangirl over, you can’t go wrong with a classic boy band song ~

Best of the Early 2000’s

~ Beyonce, Black Eyed Peas, Kanye West, Usher, Mariah Carey, Pink, Christina Aguilera, Can we take a minute to remember those awkward school dances? The 2000s. ~

  1. Mr. Brightside -- The Killers

  2. Baby One More Time -- Britney Spears

~ Oh Baby, Baby! Sing it like you mean it! I’m a huge supporter of everything and anything Britney ~

  1. Valerie -- Amy Winehouse

  2. Umbrella -- Rihanna

  3. She Will Be Loved -- Maroon 5

  4. Who Let the Dogs Out -- Baha Men

  5. Hey Soul Sister -- Train

  6. Man! I Feel Like a Woman -- Shania Twain

    ~ Is it really karaoke night if there’s no Shania? ~

  1. Hot In Here -- Nelly

  2. Livin La Vida Loca -- Ricky Martin

  3. Soak Up The Sun -- Sheryl Crow

  4. Before He Cheats -- Carrie Underwood    

~ Even if you’re not a country fan, you’ve definitely caught yourself singing this song in middle school to your teddy bear as if you related to it ~  

Best of the 2010’s

~ Even though most of us criticize today’s music, let’s be honest, you can’t go wrong with a Billboard hit ~

  1. Bad Romance -- Lady Gaga

  2. Cruise -- Florida Georgia Line

~ Dan & Shay, Sam Hunt, Jason Aldean, Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood … the world is your oyster ~

  1. Shallow -- Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper

  2. Just the Way You Are -- Bruno Mars

  3. We Are Young -- FUN

  4. We Found Love -- Rihanna

  5. Rolling in the Deep -- Adele

    ~ Show off your vocal range with today’s powerhouse ~

  1. Boo’d Up -- Ella Mai

  2. Wrecking Ball -- Miley Cyrus

  3. Love On Top -- Beyonce


    ~ Everything and anything Beyonce is a crowd pleaser! Channel your inner Queen ~

So, skip the darts, actually please do, alcohol and pointy objects never ends well, and head over to your local karaoke bar, grab a drink, and take that stage!