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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,Frankham Req: Sing-along songs from the 20's & 30's (76* d) RE: Req: Sing-a-long songs from the 20's & 30's 04 Dec 02

Hi Bobby,

We do a lot of senior assisted living programs and nursing homes. The aforementioned song titles are mostly good but bear this in mind please. Long jazz ballads are best avoided such as My Funny Valentine. Older people have a propensity for going to sleep. Keep it up beat. They like young energy. Depending on the facility or home, they probably like religious type music such as spirituals, gospel tunes and the like unless they are Jewish. Songs in Yiddish, Hebrew, uptempo Israeli songs are in order and stay away from Christian oriented material.

Light, jazzy, bouncy tunes work best and a few plaintive melodies such as "Let Me Call You Sweetheart" and Irving Berlin's "Always" or "Beautiful Ohio" ....songs that have a melodic accessibility work.

If you really want their attention, you might do some homework and tell them about the backgrounds of the songs you choose. Some have fascinating histories and life stories behind the songwriters such as Irving Berlin etc. Also, the stories behind the "stars" who sang these songs such as Jolson, Cantor, Kate Smith, Rudy Vallee and others who were on the radio at that time.

Don't sing (as a general rule) esoteric material that requires too many footnotes such as Child Ballads or chain gang songs. And avoid the singer-songwriter styled songs that you hear nowadays. Generally, a lead balloon. Early rock and roll works such as early Elvis, Buddy Holly ,Chuck Berry. Avoid "rap" and "hip hop", heavy metal or any music that's angry entirely. The exception might be a labor song depending on where you play. If you can supply useful information about the latter, it might work occasionally. Many people remember the Depression and unions. It opens up a lot of memories.

That's the key. Open the memory doors.

I would stay away from songs with racist overtones.


It's a very rewarding work and if you can get them on their feet dancing, you'll be called back.


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