The Essential Opening Song

It could make or break the night: the ever important first song you play in a set. A lot of my pre-gig inner chatter revolves around this thought. Do I want to ease them into the night or start them with a bang? Either way, you want to let them know that you are not here for a long time, you are here for a good time, an awesome time in fact.


Fortunately, the music industry has provided us with some amazing firecrackers for just this purpose. Talk to any DJ and they will have their favorites, but some classics just announce themselves as the go to opener. Here are my top 5 starters in no particular order along with a few honorable mentions. Besides the obvious You Shook Me and Don’t Stop Believing (thought they were too obvious to include), What songs am I missing? Please comment below.

September-Earth, Wind and Fire

Slow rolling rhythm blasting out into those amazing horns-whose heart doesn’t start pumping? The action never lets up in this one. Many directions you can transition from here as well.

Let’s Go Crazy- Prince

“In this life, you’re on your own; and, if the elevator tries to bring you down, GO CRAZY!” Okay, class of 1985 here, this was our rally cry. Nothing makes you say fuggedaboudit to your hum drum life like this song.

Brown-Eyed Girl – Van Morrison

Who doesn’t know this song? Brown-Eyed Girl makes me think “Summer” more than any song out there. Everybody has to sing along on the Sha-la-la-las, you can’t help it.


Get your chill on bring the groove, it’s Friday night and it’s time to move. Everyone’s wife is sick of them singing this song over and over and asking your dog if she has the hooch. If you’re not the one who has the Freshy-Freshy, don’t you want to find out who does?

Dancing Queen – ABBA

Everyone has their opportunity to be dance floor royalty with this song pouring out of the speakers. Groovy Swedish beat brings the party alive. Take that chance if you get it.

Honorable Mention

How Will I Know? – Whitney Houston

You Dropped the Bomb on Me – Gap Band

You Should be Dancin’ – Bee Gees

This Old Heart of Mine – Isley Brothers

A Thousand Miles – Vanessa Carlton


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