Best Busking Songs
We’ve talked about some easy busking songs already here on Busking HQ, but what if you’re not necessarily looking for the easiest songs, but the complete and utter crowd-pleasers? These are songs that will make you very popular and get people talking, and may even make you a few extra pennies purely by people recognizing them and wanting to reward your exceptional skills and taste! Some of these aren’t the most difficult to play, either, they’re the best because they’re the most resonant with popular culture, and people will relate to them far more than if you play a B-Side from Neil Young’s experimental electronica album.
So what are some of the absolute best busking songs you can play to your crowd?
Anything by the Beatles - Not many people have never heard Beatles songs, these will strike a chord with every generation of music fans.
Galway Girl – An absolute classic, this one will get a great reception whether you’re in Ireland or any other part of the world.
Wonderwall by Oasis - Not known for the complexity of their songs, but Oasis are best known for this 90s indie anthem. Great for beginners due to its simplicity.
Harvest Moon or Heart of Gold – Neil Young – Young is known for his stripped down acoustic tracks, and these two are his most famous tracks and great songs to play on the streets.
Karma Police by Radiohead - another one to go out to the 90s kids out there, Karma Police is another anthem, and isn’t too tough to play.
Anything by Led Zeppelin - If you can strip down a led zep song and play it, be sure to do so in your busking sets.
Crazy Little Thing Called Love – Queen – The jaunty and cheerful tune that everyone will recognize, include it if it fits your style.
Bob Marley – Anything by Bob Marley will be loved, too, and makes for a nice chilled out atmosphere.
Stuck in the Middle – Stealers Wheel – Perhaps best known for Quentin Tarantino’s use of it in Reservoir Dogs, this song will again be recognized and hopefully get people to open their wallets.
Layla – Eric Clapton – The maestro himself, just playing this guitar riff will get you adoration from a certain breed of middle aged men.
Anything by Jimi Hendrix – Another one who’s songs will stick out like a sore thumb, if your guitar skills are up to it, wow your audiences with some Jimi.
Bruce Springsteen – Everyone loves “The Boss”. Springsteen is internationally renowned and though a lot of his tracks are rockier, full band numbers there are still a number of songs that sound great played acoustically and in street performance.
Brown Eyed Girl – Van Morrison - This song may scream “80s” to your audience but everyone has heard it and it is a happy little number that will get people’s toes tapping as they walk on by (or hopefully stop to watch).
I’m Yours – Jason Mraz – This is a real busking track if ever I heard one, I’m sure many people have started to play acoustic guitar just to be able to serenade with this tune, playing it live will have teen girls swooning.
On top of any classics you can play, as I’ve said before on here, anything you can do to wow your audience is always a bonus, whether that be amazing skills with a guitar or other instrument, or something quirky like being able to beatbox or live-loop, make sure you take advantage of your unique selling point!
Happy busking, people.