For the diehard karaoke enthusiast, there’s no higher honor than nailing a song held in high regard by the karaoke community. Becoming a karaoke master isn’t about perfecting one particular artist’s catalog or specializing in one genre—it’s about mastering the hardest songs to sing based on pitch, speed, lyrics, complex changes, and several other areas of difficulty.
If you’re looking to beef up your karaoke night arsenal, we’ve got 25 of the hardest songs to sing at the local watering hole.
1. Dream On – Aerosmith
Aerosmith’s 1970s hit is one of the band’s staple offerings and one of the most impressive vocally. Lead singer Steven Tyler displays an impressive range of complex highs to master. Many professional and amateur singers have tried to nail this one—only a few have succeeded.
2. It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine) – R.E.M.
“It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” is one of R.E.M.’s staple tunes, helping to cement their legacy as one of the most legendary bands of the 90s. This fast-paced, catchy tune is a karaoke favorite worldwide and one of the most difficult because of the swift lyrics.
3. Forgot About Dre – Dr. Dre Featuring Eminem
This classic cut from Dr. Dre’s album The Chronic 2001 is one of many hits from the producer’s critically acclaimed and long-awaited follow-up to his early 90s The Chronic. The difficulty in this song lies in Eminem’s rapid-fire delivery, which takes some practice to master.
4. Back In Black – AC/DC
This isn’t the only AC/DC song you’ll find on this list, but this title track from the Back In Black album written by Bon Scott and belted by Brian Johnson showcases his legendary pipes. Some of his trademark high notes are extremely difficult to nail—even pros have tried and failed.
5. Take On Me – A-ha
A-ha’s 80s hit “Take On Me” is one of the music videos of its time to reach a billion views on YouTube, and it continues its lore as one of the most challenging karaoke songs to sing. The range of vocals and the lead singer’s unique tone in this one are much harder than you think.
6. Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen
Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” is a tough nut to crack. It is one of the most famous songs ever recorded and most widely attempted in karaoke bars everywhere. Freddie Mercury’s vocal genius and legendary range shine in this song—if that wasn’t hard enough, Mercury’s complex voice changes add another layer of difficulty.
7. Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana
One of the theme songs from the 1990s and the Seattle grunge scene’s arguably most notable track, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is challenging on many levels. Kurt Cobain’s vocal range and raspy tone are complicated enough. In addition, hard-to-decipher lyrics make this one of the most complex songs to sing.
8. Stairway to Heaven – Led Zeppelin
One of the most legendary songs ever recorded and an absolute masterpiece from Led Zeppelin that is difficult to match. Complex lyrics, Robert Plant’s one-of-a-kind vocals, and varying speeds make this Led Zeppelin staple a karaoke mainstay.
9. Money – Pink Floyd
This funky Pink Floyd hit is one of many of the band’s karaoke-worthy hits. However, “Money” is difficult because of the elaborate time changes, thanks to Roger Waters. Good luck keeping up with those hard switches—people have been tripping on this one since 1973.
10. Best Of You – Foo Fighters
Dave Grohl is an excellent vocalist, and his notes are difficult to nail. This fast, hard, challenging heavy pace continues for a solid four minutes on Foo Fighters’ hit “Best of You.” You rarely get a break on this track, so be sure to get your breathing under control.
11. My Heart Will Go On – Celine Dion
Where do we start with this one? Celine Dion’s long, drawn-out notes and wide range of different pitches are nearly impossible to duplicate. In addition, the raw emotion infused into this track makes it one of the most complicated karaoke songs to sing.
12. I Will Always Love You – Whitney Houston
Whitney Houston, in her prime, was one of the most talented vocalists of all time. Her talent is demonstrated in this early 90s hit from the movie The Bodyguard. Good luck beating the high notes on the chorus that are drawn out for what seems like forever—very few singers can conquer this track. This is one of the Mt. Everests of karaoke.
13. Blind – Korn
The California nu metal band Korn’s single from their self-titled first album put them on the map with authority. It’s frontman Jonathan Davis’ raw, throaty, growling screams between nearly whisper-soft vocals that interchange in a difficult way to keep up with. The lyrics are also difficult to decipher, making the song even more difficult.
14. The Beautiful People – Marilyn Manson
“The Beautiful People” by the band Marilyn Manson is one of many tracks by the band with raspy, high-pitched screams between distorted vocals that are hard to ace. The lead singer, also named Marilyn Manson, gives a great demonstration of his trademark range and raspy chops. The fast pace makes this popular 90s rock hit even more challenging.
15. Apologize – Timbaland Featuring OneRepublic
The lead singer of OneRepublic, Ryan Tedder, hits a home run on this song on the chorus and verses, demonstrating a range of vocals. Low vocals during the verse portion of the song aren’t too tricky, but the extremely high, elongated chorus notes make this one difficult to sing.
16. I Believe In A Thing Called Love – The Darkness
Not only do you need an impressive vocal range to do this song, but you’ll also need to be able to quickly keep up with the changes on this hit from The Darkness. If you’re a slow singer, you might as well sit this one out, as the pace will quickly dust you.
17. Wuthering Heights – Kate Bush
This entire Kate Bush hit must be taken down by a pitch since it is extremely difficult. You can try using the falsetto technique, but it’s not easy. If you can nail Bush’s debut single, pat yourself on the back, as this one has been butchered tens of thousands of times.
18. Under Pressure – Queen and David Bowie
It’s not that this Queen hit has brutal lyrics or is a fast-paced song—it’s the two different legendary vocalists you have to mimic. Trying to nail Freddie Mercury’s and David Bowie’s notes in one piece interchangeably is much easier said than done. This one is almost impossible without a duet, but it can be done—but only by the best.
19. Can You Feel The Love Tonight – Elton John
No karaoke list would be complete without an Elton John track, and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” is just as tricky as any other. John’s low, powerful notes are hard to reproduce in such a slow-paced song, and the low tones are tough to drag out for as long as Sir Elton’s.
20. Hello – Adele
This track, one of the earlier Adele hits, is the type of song that gives you goosebumps when the notes are hit. The steadily climbing high notes and quick changes are tough and take a master karaoke singer to reproduce. Then there’s the raw emotion, which is another talent altogether.
21. White Wedding – Billy Idol
This Billy Idol hit is another track that is almost impossible to master due to the low notes. On top of the powerful bass notes, you’ll also need to mimic the trademark Billy Idol raspy voice if you even stand a chance at nailing this 80s classic.
22. Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap – AC/DC
We couldn’t complete the list without an AC/DC offering from original lead singer Bon Scott. One of the most historical arguments in rock is who the better AC/DC lead singer was—Brian Johnson or the late Bon Scott. Scott makes his case on this one with crazy tones and raspy, throaty screams that were a Scott trademark.
23. Use Somebody – Kings of Leon
Caleb Followill, the lead singer of Kings of Leon, proves why he’s an underrated vocalist on this track. The power and emotion in this song are difficult to capture. In addition, the heavyweight, drawn-out notes are challenging to carry.
24. My Way – Frank Sinatra
This timeless 1969 classic by Old Blue Eyes is easy on the ears but hard to match on the microphone. The heavyweight low notes that Frank Sinatra belts out on this masterpiece take a champion karaoke singer to capture. You’d better be able to hold those notes if you want to conquer this jewel.
25. Because Of You – Kelly Clarkson
One of several hits Kelly Clarkson of American Idol fame recorded is also one of the most challenging karaoke songs to master. She doesn’t get the credit she should, but if you want to duplicate the brilliance on this track, you’ll need some power in your voice to carry the notes.
Next time you’re present for a karaoke night, make it a point to take a run at one of the most intricate karaoke songs to sing from our list. There are plenty of other complex songs, but if you can conquer any of these, you’re in the upper echelon of karaoke legends.
As the Head Editor and Writer at Music Grotto, Liam helps write and edit content produced from professional music/media journalists and other contributing writers. He works closely with journalists and other staff to format and publish music content for the Music Grotto website. Liam is also the founding member of Music Grotto and is passionate in disseminating editorial content to its readers.
Liam’s lifelong love for music makes his role at Music Grotto such a rewarding one. He loves researching, writing and editing music content for Music Grotto.