“Everybody Loves ____” (Or DO They?)

Posted by Dave

I did an all-Sinatra evening tonight, which was made even more fun by the 16-piece Big Band I worked with (and their very authentic Sinatra charts). Two other things worked in my favor: (1.) the program only lasted 90 minutes (which is long enough for a lot of Frankie’s hits, but not too long. And (2.) this was a perfect audience for that repertoire.

In fact, everything went so well, I wondered why – the last time I did a 100% Sinatra evening – it hadn’t gone as swimmingly. That occasion was a party whose hostess told me, “Everybody loves Frank.”

Well, that night, everybody didn’t. At least, not 4 straight hours of Frank and only Frank. I got lots of complaints at the bandstand, but my hands were tied. The lady who had hired me, and who had my check, said “Sinatra only.” It was a long night – for “Everybody” except the hostess.

So I was understandably wary when another employer engaged me to do a “Jersey Boys” party next month. “Jersey Boys” – in case you don’t know – is a smash Broadway hit about another Frankie – Frankie Valli and The 4 Seasons. My unease only increased when my hostess said those fateful words, “Everybody loves Frankie Valli!”

Fortunately for me (and the party attendees), what this hostess wants, is one 4 Seasons tune out of every 5 or 6 songs played. The other songs are to be (mostly) other hits of the 60s. But I am allowed – this time – to play requests from her guests. At some point in the evening, we will do a 15 or 20 minute block of “Walk Like A Man,” “Oh What A Night,” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You,” etc. Anybody who objects can make a pit stop and a trip to the bar. By the time they get back, we’ll be done with our 4 Seasons Medley.

The lesson I am hoping to communicate to you is that – in general – it is a mistake to generalize. Yes, many or even the majority of your audience may like Elvis, or Dixieland, or Cajun, or Ska, but does “Everybody” you are inviting to your party really love any one musical style enough to hear that (and only that) all night long?

Be careful how you answer – “Everybody’s” enjoyment of your party depends on it.


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