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Top Songs You Need For A Party Band Playlist

Professional party bands know how to keep the crowd dancing

What’s a party without a fire soundtrack? Whether hosting a birthday party or marking an anniversary, creating a party band playlist that gets your guests up and moving is the key to a successful night.

You can’t throw any old songs into the mix. When working with a party band, there are a few essential things to consider. But don’t worry. We’ve found an easy strategy to help you choose a party playlist that ticks all the boxes.

So, forget putting your iPod on shuffle. It’s time to design a playlist that speaks (or sings) to your audience. Bookmark this page for your future events! Now let’s get into it.

Understanding Your Audience

If you do one thing when creating a party playlist, you should take a moment to consider your audience.

Not all guests want to groove to the same tunes. For example, a set list of sixties songs might go over a room of teenagers’ heads. Likewise, the latest pop covers might not work for an audience of funk enthusiasts. Matching your playlist to your guest’s likes is essential for throwing a good bash.

  • When defining your audience, ask yourself these questions:
  • What’s the average age of my audience?
  • What bands/artists do they listen to?
  • Do they have any preferred genres?

You can then base your party band playlist on these answers. It’s a great way to give yourself loose guidelines and ensure your music is tailored to their needs.

Pro Tip: Have you partied with your guests before? If yes, think back to the music played at your last get-together.

Inviting a mix of people? Don’t worry. While it might seem impossible to cater to all tastes, the best route is to mix current music with some oldies. Classic dance floor fillers work for all ages, especially if your party band puts a modern spin on the old favourites.

Breaking Down the Playlist

Okay, now you know potential genres and artists your guests are interested in. Now it’s time to break down the playlist into four key categories: energisers, crowd-pleasers, slow dances, and end-of-the-night songs.

Having song requests in these four categories is essential for keeping the party going all night.
Energisers are popular, high-energy songs that get the party started. These are ideal for the beginning of the night when people are still relaxing in the party mood. Think floor fillers that will help guests make their way onto the dance floor.

Excellent examples of energiser songs include:

  • One Way Or Another — Blondie
  • Dance With Me Tonight — Olly Murs
  • Rebel Rebel — David Bowie

Of course, your energisers will depend on your audience’s taste. But always aim for higher-energy songs first.

Pro Tip: Niche songs are great! But avoid them at the start of the evening. The more well-known and upbeat, the better.

Crowd Pleasers

Next, we have the crowd-pleasers. These songs unite your guests and get everyone singing along (yes, even Grandma).

In this section of your party band playlist, you want songs everyone will know. It’s easy to slip crowd-pleasers into the energiser section accidentally. While energisers are popular, crowd-pleasers are universally loved.

Excellent examples of crowd-pleaser songs include:

  • Valerie — Amy Winehouse (The Zutons)
  • Mama Mia — Abba
  • I’m A Believer — The Monkees

Pro Tip: Most party bands already have crowd-pleasers in their repertoire. Ask your musicians which gets the best response.

Slow Dances

After you’ve played the hits, it’s time to take a breather. That’s right — your playlist should include some slow dances.

Slow dance songs will differ slightly depending on your event style, and some may not need typical slow dance music. For example, a birthday party for teens might need songs with a slower tempo than romantic tunes.

Universally loved slow dance songs include:

  • Fade Into You — Mazzy Star
  • I Only Have Eyes For You — The Flamingos
  • A Thousand Years — Christina Perri

Don’t skip this section! It allows your guests to cool down and enjoy some slow steps. And those who don’t slow dance? It gives them a moment to refill their glass. Everybody wins.

Pro Tip: Will your audience know the classics? Don’t be afraid to opt for older tunes.

End of the Night

When the night’s end rolls around, it’s time to push the energy back up and end the event on a high note. Ending your party band playlist with a bang is the best way to ensure your guests leave with a smile.

The best songs for this part of the playlist are also popular tunes that everyone will know, but you should focus on ones to which your guests will know the words. This is the part of the night where people like to flex their vocal chords.

End of the night tunes to get your guests singing include:

  • Mr Brightside — The Killers
  • Teenage Dirtbag — Wheatus
  • Sweet Caroline — Neil Diamond

Some party bands will have a few preferred end of the night songs, especially if they specialise in a specific genre or era. When in doubt, ask the professionals for their advice.

Requesting from your Party Band

Once you’ve worked out your party playlist, it’s time to tell your party band. But don’t send them your songs at the last minute and expect them to learn them in 24 hours. Working with a party band takes a little more communication.

You should provide your musicians with your party playlist as early as possible. Professional bands will likely already know most songs, but they may need some time to practise the picks. The longer you wait to send your list, the less likely those niche songs will be available.

Many party bands are happy to take requests and learn new songs. But you should note that after 2-3 requests, some bands may charge for extra songs. Consider this when selecting your musicians.

You might be able to save money by working with a party band that already knows your genre or favourite songs. All Encore party bands provide their standard playlist on their profile so you can check whether they match your vibe before booking. Easy.

Party bands always keep the crowd dancing

Of course, you should also be flexible with your playlist. A few songs might not make the cut, and that’s to be expected. At the same time, if your musicians completely change your setlist, they might not be the option for you.

Extra tips for communicating effectively with your party band include:

  • Ask questions if you have any worries
  • Request their best songs
  • Ensure you send over your playlist very early
  • Check-in with the band again closer to the event
  • Ask how you can make your party bands experience more comfortable


There’s more to a great party than music, but it’s an important place to start. A curated party playlist keeps your guests dancing and ensures the mood is lifted throughout the evening, allowing you to relax knowing the music is under control. Plus, you’ll also have a talented party band on your side to keep things under control. Perfect!

Are you considering professional musicians for your party? Don’t book any random band. Work with experts who take party band playlist requests. Encore works with over 360 vetted party bands ready to rock your event.

Browse and connect with party bands now >


Dan Willis

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