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best piano bar songs

Rock the bar with with these six amazing piano bar songs

The best piano bar songs of all time tend to be classic songs that everyone can recognize, and they create a fun atmosphere. 

Great piano bar songs are something that every pianist will probably be asked to play at some point, for different occasions. 

This could be a classic rock song at a friend’s house, or a favorite song for someone’s birthday, or of course, at a bar! There’s a lot of learning material out there and sheet music, so students will often learn piano bar songs as their first real collection of performance songs.

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The best piano bar songs 

Many piano bar songs generally have the same basic factors that you can spot. 

The attributes listed here can apply to songs from any genre such as country music or even a heavy metal song. Some of these songs will be a classic rock tune, and they may feature a captivating melody, a catchy tune, and an infectious chorus. 

Regardless of what tools the song is using, all of the most popular piano bar songs featured on this list can be played relatively easily on your piano. Many of the great piano bar songs share the attributes listed below:

  • These popular piano bar songs will often have a catchy melody you can’t resist singing along with
  • Usually upbeat music
  • They often have a big-sounding chorus
  • A lot of songs known as the top piano bar songs are very American and British influenced
  • Often a hit that everyone knows
  • Easy musical groove to tap your feet to

Billy Joel – Piano Man

This song is easily one of the most requested piano bar songs and a staple of the genre of piano bar songs. Delighting piano bar audiences since its inception, the classic rock hit Piano Man by Billy Joel will be sure to bring joy to your audience, too. 

Though it has silly but lovable lyrics, this tune’s croonable chorus will encourage all to join in and sing along with your piano playing. Since Billy Joel himself was a skillful and imaginative pianist, the music will be a more demanding song than some others on this list.

That said, the song is written for piano, so it will be easy to learn exactly what he’s playing rather than a song that has been translated into piano. Piano Man by Billy Joel is one of the most famous songs in this genre and is a staple of every bar pianist’s arsenal.

Tips on playing the song

  • Keep in mind that the song is in 3/4 time signature
  • It is in the key of C major 
  • The chord fragments will be played in the right hand
  • The melody uses mainly groups of quarter notes and eighth notes

Go to the lesson

Amy Winehouse – Back to Black 

Amy Winehouse was one of the many talented musicians who were lost to the world too soon. She was known for belting out singalong songs, including Back to Black.

This song might not make everyone want to dance, but it remains one of the best piano bar singalong hits ever written. When you’re playing this piano bar song, make sure you’re aware of the piano keys in the key signature of D minor, familiarize yourself with the simple melody. 

Tips on playing the song

  • The song is in the key of D minor
  • The chords in the right hand are playing quarter note hits over and over, often these are called “chord stabs” due to the short stabbing motion
  • It includes a diminished chord, so make sure you understand chord types

Go to the lesson

Bill Withers – Lean on Me

This is an iconic song written by one of the most talented musicians and songwriters of the 1960s and 1970s. Bill Withers was known for his incredible voice, as well as integrating themes from gospel music into his songwriting. 

This piano bar song is almost like a country tune in terms of structure because of the types of chords used and the soulful yet mellow lyrics. If you consider yourself a music lover, this song has been a consistent hit since it was written in 1972.

Tips on playing the song

  • It was common to write country gospel songs using jazz chords, they include more than three different tones, and this song includes a seventh chord
  • The melody is written using the blues scale
  • The song is written in C major and played in a 4/4 time signature
  • Soulful music relies on rhythm and timing, make sure you play using the metronome to make sure you’re always on the beat

Go to the lesson

Queen – We Are the Champions

There is no band from the history of rock and roll that wrote more iconic power ballads than Queen. These songs are some of the best piano bar songs and will make sure to bring your guests and friends a lot of joy. 

The original version of “We Are the Champions” features heavy metal power chords and these same chords should be played firmly on the piano. Be sure to give your playing dynamics and expression.

To play many types of rock songs you would need a lot of instruments playing very fast, but this iconic hard rock song instead takes its time and uses very few chords. Many rock and metal songs feature big solo sections as well, but this song is softer, with more of a focus on the iconic vocal line.

Tips on playing the song

  • The song is played in a 6/4 time signature
  • The chords are written above the right hand of the piano, so it is possible to skip playing the bass line and substitute the chords for the left hand of the piano 
  • Ensure you play this beautiful melody perfectly by changing octaves in the right position. The same notes will be played both high and low
  • The bass line is written with dotted half notes, each of which are worth 3 beats

 

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Elton John – Candle in the Wind

One of the top piano bar songs, Candle in the Wind was written by the combination of the pianist Elton John and his famous lyricist Bernie Taupin. 

Originally the song was on his first album called Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, but the song was eventually put together to honor the memory of Princess Diana in 1997. The song written by Elton John is not the most danceable classic rock song, but it comes from a beautiful and sincere place in music history. 

Songs like this can also help to bring people together in trying times, or to celebrate the memory of someone who was important to you or many groups of people, making this song by Elton John one of the best songs to request at a piano bar. Proof that good piano bar songs can be slow and emotive too.

Tips on playing the song

  • The song is written in the key of C major and played in the 4/4 time signature
  • The bass line is written almost entirely underneath the left hand of the piano, so be sure to play the notes in the right low register
  • If you wish, you can substitute the bass notes for the chords written above the right hand section

Go to the lesson

Coldplay – Clocks

Clocks written by Coldplay became one of the band’s biggest songs since appearing on their album A Rush Of Blood To The Head. 

It is a contemporary rock hit that is very catchy, and the piano ostinato riff in the right hand that plays all through the song is an instantly recognizable piano progression. 

With piano riffs like this that repeat over and over, it is most important to make sure you pay special attention to the fingering. This is one of the best piano songs to request, because so many people know the song today.

Tips on playing the song

  • Learn the correct fingering positions for the initial phrase, repeated over and over again
  • The song is written in the key of Eb Major
  • The time signature is 4/4 but make sure you learn the rhythmic pattern of the right hand. It may help to count 1 2 3, 1 2 3, 1 2 in your head to understand the rhythm. The pattern repeats for the entirety of the son

Go to the lesson

Final thoughts

Some great piano bar songs to request at a piano bar or play in front of your friends are featured on this list. 

The best place to play a piano bar song is when you have a small audience, who are happy to sing along, and you can learn to play all of these tunes with Skoove’s online piano lessons. Once you’ve mastered some simple chord progressions and learned these songs you will be able to celebrate your performances and enjoy a singalong. 

Whether at an event with family or in a bar with strangers, these classic piano bar songs will bring you all together!

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Author of this blog post:

 

Alvin Shipp is a Multi-Instrumentalist Composer, Performer, Producer, and Educator from Portland, Oregon currently based in Berlin, Germany. He’s worked extensively in the USA and Germany, has released Over 15 Albums. He has been teaching upper-level students for over 15 years, and currently lives as a Freelance Composer, Mixing & Mastering Engineer and Teacher.
Start your musical journey
  • Fall in love with the music - Learn your favorite songs; whether they're classical, pop, jazz or film music, all at a level that suits you.
  • Enjoy interactive piano lessons - Learn with courses that help you master everything from music theory, chords, technique and more.
  • Get real-time feedback - Improve your practice with rich feedback as Skoove listens to your playing and highlights what went well and areas for improvement.
1 month free trial
No credit card details required
Start your piano journey now!