MUNICH (MunichNOW Oktoberfest 2019– I love the traditional Bavarian brass band music as much as the next guy, but these days that don’t get “da party sta-sta-started” like these modern sing-along classics. So don’t pretend you came to Oktoberfest to use good judgment; just scream right along. In no particular order:
1. “I Will Survive” – Originally a B-side, number-one disco hit, gay anthem and Oktoberfest “Evergreen” (Germans think evergreens are classic songs, not trees. No one knows why), Gloria Gaynor’s bittersweet musings on the price of love will get them dancing on the tables
every time. The song also allows the band to “rev up” to the chorus, starting out slow and building to the hook (“So…now….you’re….. back…from outer space!”) and gives under appreciated trumpet players a chance for a solo in the spotlight.
2. Anything by Queen – Freddie Mercury lived in Munich for a time, and while they were not among his most musically productive years, he still has a special place in the city’s heart. If the band has a singer who is up to the task, Queen (with a full horn section) will rock the tent. The adventurous will even try “Bohemian Rhapsody,” although “We Are the Champions” offers more scream-along moments.
3. “Take me Home, Country Roads” – There comes a time in every man’s life where he will find himself drunkenly weeping in public to John Denver’s music. Your time has come. A lot of traditional Bavarians enjoy American country music and the hit-the-high-note chorus is the key: “to the plaaace…. where I BELLOOONG!!!!” Mountain mommas don’t hurt none, neither.
4. “YMCA” – One of my favorite memories of my first Oktoberfest was watching a tent full of Germans try to figure out the arm movements to this song. There was general agreement that coordinated waving of appendages should take place during the chorus but then it all sort of fell apart. In any case, they can showcase the horn section and scream the chorus with the best native English speakers and that’s what its all about.
5. “Hey! Baby” – I’ll be honest here, this is my least favorite song on the list. The 1961 original is just fine, but its popularity at the Oktoberfest is due to the 2001 remake by
DJ Ötzi. Not only is the chorus easy, but The Genius That Is DJ Ötzi added “Ooh! Ahh!” Hugely popular still and, again, no one goes to a beer tent because of their discriminating
6. “Seven Nation Army” – Indie rockers from Detroit don’t normally make this sort of list, but the song has been popular in European soccer stadiums for years. If you see the bass player playing the opening riff, feel free to inform him or her that it should really be a semi-acoustic guitar run through a whammy pedal set down an octave if they want to capture the magic of the original.
7. “Walking on Sunshine” – Look, these bands have horn sections full of people who can play and, oftentimes, a female lead singer. And they are surrounded by a drunken mob. Obvious choice when you think about it.
8. “Summer of ’69” – Remember Canadian heartthrob rocker Bryan Adams? Sure you do! Not sure why this is still so popular- no horns, no big sing-along chorus and it’s a “story song” centered on the lyrics. They just have to keep playing it for 56 more years and then it will all be worth it.
9. “New York, New York” – Many Germans love New York City more than many Americans love New York City. This one has stood the test of time like no other song on here and, like “Country Roads,” it allows the band to start slow and end loud. Tempo AND dynamics?
10. “99 Luftballoons/99 Red Balloons” – Nena: when the wars were cold and the girls were hot! You know you’ve got an international hit when the German-language version goes to number 2 in the US. This is a personal favorite of mine from the early innocent years of MTV and allows me to be a screaming Angeber as I know both versions by heart.
Are there new ones for 2019? We bet there are!