What songs have interchangeable accompaniments?
March 3, 2015 8:06 PM   Subscribe

Let's say you want to request one song while doing karaoke. Once you get up there, you surprise and delight your friends by belting out a different tune, yet the chords behind it still match. Which songs work that way?
posted by umbú to Media & Arts (26 answers total) 52 users marked this as a favorite
Here's a few.

Also: Advance Australia Fair/Working Class Man
posted by pompomtom at 8:19 PM on March 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

Theorytab will help you. "Click the colored circles to build a progression and see the songs that use it."
posted by unliteral at 8:37 PM on March 3, 2015 [5 favorites]

Well, there's this.
posted by General Malaise at 8:41 PM on March 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

Jacqui Naylor does a bunch of these. She calls them smashups, and they are brilliant. From her holiday album, for example. I don't know if any of them are exact matches, though. I was so disappointed to discover that her My Funny Valentine won't really work with the AC/DC track in a karaoke setting that I haven't gotten around to trying any of the others note-for-note yet.
posted by mammoth at 8:43 PM on March 3, 2015

Surely you can't have missed the Axis of (incredibly bloody) Awesome ?!
posted by taff at 8:50 PM on March 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

"House of the Rising Sun" can also use the lyrics of "Amazing Grace".

The Blind Boys of Alabama do this version. It's transcendent.
posted by notsnot at 9:34 PM on March 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

Star Spangled Benz
posted by mollymayhem at 9:46 PM on March 3, 2015

"House of the Rising Sun" can also use the lyrics of "Amazing Grace" and the theme song for Gilligan's Island.
posted by maggieb at 10:02 PM on March 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

Ive been milking Amazing Grace sung to the tune of Gilligan's Island as a party trick for years now FWIW
posted by rubster at 10:23 PM on March 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

The Scared Weird Little Guys used to do ABBA's Fernando to the tune of Rawhide, and Rawhide to the tune of Fernando but do you think I can find a version online? No I can not. Take my word for it.

The only gap was dealt with by adding the lines (in the Fernando tune part) 'and though the words to Rawhide seem to fiiiiit, there's none there for thiiisss biiiiiiit'.
posted by Trivia Newton John at 10:37 PM on March 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

Er, Nickelback "How You Remind Me" and "Someday", via NPR
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 11:10 PM on March 3, 2015

The UK Ukulele Orchestra use some overlapping chord structures in their Life on Mars medley. It shows the shared chord structure of My way and Life on Mars, and, to a lesser extent, of some other tunes.
posted by nicolin at 12:58 AM on March 4, 2015

Oh, and using some of Weird Al's lyrics could be funny.
posted by nicolin at 1:17 AM on March 4, 2015 [2 favorites]

There is a slightly related category here - which is songs where the song writer re-used the same melody with more than one set of lyrics. For example Manu Chao's "Bongo Bong" and " Je ne t'aime plus" -these are adjacent songs on his CD but only the first was the released as a single and the second has a very different theme.
posted by rongorongo at 1:33 AM on March 4, 2015

Seconding Weird Al - or any parody version of a favorite song.
posted by Flood at 4:04 AM on March 4, 2015

Queue up "Eye of the Tiger" and then sing "Baby Got Back."
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:10 AM on March 4, 2015

Previously on Metafilter, BBC Radio 4's panel game I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue has this as a game, and there's lots of examples on the game's Wikipedia page.
posted by ambrosen at 5:12 AM on March 4, 2015

Definitely do a dry run at home before attempting the party trick, some of these will work better than others.

For example I'm pretty sure the Axis of Awesome's medley benefits from cherry-picking short pieces of songs (when the whole song wouldn't have worked) and making their own accompaniment (when the original accompaniments might not mesh so well).

A friend used to sing "Little Bunny Foo Foo" to the tune of "Wish You Were Here". Pink Floyd's long instrumental introduction helps build the suspense.
posted by bfields at 5:37 AM on March 4, 2015

There's some great crossover potential between:

Stand by Me - Ben E. King
Every Breath You Take - The Police
One of these Nights - The Eagles

Agreed with me bfields that you want to try at home before making your public debut.
posted by BurntHombre at 6:29 AM on March 4, 2015

Every blues song ever (for instance, by B.B. King) has exactly the same chord pattern.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 7:20 AM on March 4, 2015

You can sing the Duck Tales theme to Hall & Oates - You Make My Dreams Come True! This one is my favorite.

On a similar note, bacon pancakes works to Empire State of Mind.

Black Eyed Peas - Where is the Love? is basically the same song as Alicia Keys - No One.

This one is a little trickier because the tempos are pretty different, but you might be able to do Nelly - Ride Wit Me to ELO - Evil Woman.
posted by capricorn at 12:19 PM on March 4, 2015 [2 favorites]

Don't forget jazz contrafacts! While classic 30s tunes might come up a bit less in karaoke, the melodies hem very close to the underlying chord structure, and it's unlikely you would have to alter a backing track more than a little.
posted by solarion at 9:43 AM on March 6, 2015

« Older Sonicwall tz215 2 isp's 1 lan and voip.   |   Changing of the Guard: Mr. Mom Edition Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.