I believe that, when it comes to music, a band’s most well-known songs aren’t always the best ones. Take a classic like “Stairway to Heaven.” Many would say that it’s Led Zeppelin’s best song, but I personally feel that there are others that are just as good or better. In fact, Robert Plant hated performing that song and said, “I’d break out in hives if I had to sing that song in every show.” Ultimately, I think bands get tired of only performing their radio hits at concerts, and hardcore fans get tired of hearing them.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” is another example. While it’s a great song that demonstrates creative expertise, so do many other Queen songs. Moreover, I think that another of their biggest hits, “We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions,” is extremely subpar to their other music. It’s largely remembered as an anthem for jocks everywhere, but it lacks the creativity and technical skill of other songs, both hits and deep cuts, such as “Radio Ga Ga,” “Somebody to Love,” “Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy,” “One Vision” and “Love of My Life.”
I did a little social media polling and found a lot of people had similar opinions. Most fans of bands don’t really dig a lot of their biggest hits. No Nirvana fan would say that “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is their favorite. Beatles fans would probably not say that “Hey Jude” or “Let it Be” is their favorite, either.
One band that’s infamously known for hating their biggest hit is Oasis. When talking about “Wonderwall,” Liam Gallagher said, “You go to America, and they’re like, ‘Are you Mr. Wonderwall?’ You want to chin someone.”
I feel that this is the same case with many modern bands. I don’t think that “Mr. Brightside” is the best song by The Killers, even though it’s probably their most popular. The same could be said for Twenty One Pilots. The song “Stressed Out” is played constantly on the radio and is what helped bring them fame, but most of their fans don’t like it. The lead singer even changed the lyrics when performing it live and called it “overplayed” and “overstayed,” which brings me to my next point.
I think that, oftentimes, musicians get tired of performing the same hits at their shows, but they do it because they think it’s what the fans want. However, most people that attend concerts go because they’re a big fan and have probably heard the artist’s work extensively. After all, you wouldn’t shell out a small fortune to see a band that you only know from hearing two of their songs on the radio, right?
I think that bands should perform a bigger variety of songs in their setlists. Commercial success doesn’t really say much about if the song is a fan favorite or not, and I don’t think musicians should be confined to playing the same thing over and over and getting bored with it.