It’s a common mistake to only play songs that are busker-type acoustic recordings in their original forms. Nearly every busker has songs of Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Leonard Cohen, and the likes memorized. “Can’t go wrong there.”, they think.
Well, indeed you can’t if you want to be stuck in the sixties and seventies. But the avarage age of people on a shopping spree that populate the streets where you busk is 17. And as we all know: the youth doesn’t know the classics and they sure won’t pay you for playing them.
Play something they know and you might get their attention while they’re screaming to a friend in a cell phone about that fashionable top they bought at discount price.
Contrary to popular busker believe, it is possible to play contemporary songs that aren’t strum on an acoustic guitar. Don’t wait for an acoustic guitar ballad to hit the popcharts before adding the 21st century to your busking repertoire. In a world of hiphop, R&B and poppy leftovers of talent shows, there isn’t a lot of guitar going on anyway.
Instead: choose one of those crappy songs and buskerize it! You probably know all the songs of hyped starlets are actually written by crafty songwriters on the 42nd floor of a big office building.
Sometimes, when you remove all the beats and bleeps, you will find that underneath that loathsome popcrap there lies a real gem of a song.
A few examples…
The cover of Outkast’s “Hey Ya” by Mat Weddle (Obadiah parker) was a worldwide hype on YouTube.
And never thought I’d say it but I really like Britney Spears’ “Hit me baby one more time” when played thus…
The Black Eyed Peas can keep shitting out stuff like “I got a feeling”, as long as there are people with acoustic guitars, there will be buskerized versions that beat the original!
So… as great as Bob, Leonard and Neil may be, buskers got to wake up and smell the 21ste century by making today’s pop songs bareable!