Songs that an Artist Generally Has Refused to Perform Live

I've been meaning to do this list for a while, so I decided to do some research related to the topic. This is what I came up with. This list is about songs that an artist generally refuses to perform live. This doesn't mean that they have never performed it live at all, it just means that they avoid it for the most part during concerts. This occurs for a variety of reasons: the artist hates the song, the subject matter is disturbing, it's too personal for them to perform live, etc. Feel free to add more songs to this list; if you do, please tell me why the artist stopped performing the song.
The Top Ten
1 Shiny Happy People - R.E.M.

The band hated the song so much that they refused to play the song in concert. Despite this, they performed the song on Saturday Night Live with Kate Pierson in 1991 (when the song came out), and they performed a rewritten version on Sesame Street called "Furry Happy Monsters" in 1999.

Shiny Happy People was agreed by the band to be left off of their Greatest Hits album

2 Tears In Heaven - Eric Clapton

Eric stopped performing the song in 2004, saying that he does not grieve for the loss of his son Conor anymore and does not want the old feelings of grief to return. Despite this, he did play it during his 50th Anniversary Tour in 2013.

3 It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'N' Roll) - AC/DC

After Bon Scott passed away, Brian Johnson refused to play it live out of respect. They still have not performed it live to this day.

4 All I Wanna Do Is Make Love to You - Heart

Ann Wilson was disgusted with the song's message, suggesting that it was okay for a woman to make love with a stranger if her husband was unable to conceive a child. Despite the fact that they refuse to do it live, she says that the song is extremely popular in Australia and New Zealand, and she is really surprised by how many people request it when they perform down there.

5 Exit - U2

The band quit performing the song after murderer Robert John Bardo (who murdered actress Rebecca Shaffer) claimed while testifying in court that the song influenced his actions. They only brought it back for the Joshua Tree's 30th Anniversary Tour in 2017 (where they played the album in full every night).

6 Speed of Sound - Coldplay

Chris Martin told Howard Stern that he is reluctant to perform this song live because he believes that "an audience can pick up real fast if you're not convinced by something". He was unsatisfied with the way the studio recording turned out, leaving a sour taste in his mouth.

7 The Conjuring - Megadeth

Dave Mustaine quit performing the song in 2001 due to the lyrics being about a Satanic ritual (Dave has become a Christian in recent years). Despite this, he became more open to performing it "as long as it doesn't hurt anybody", and played it at a gig in the Czech Republic in 2018.

8 High and Dry - Radiohead

Although Radiohead is way more famous for refusing to play "Creep" in concert, they did bring it back into their setlist on a few occasions, most notably on the tour for A Moon Shaped Pool. "High and Dry", however, has not been performed at all since 1998. Thom Yorke thought it sounded too much like a Rod Stewart song and that it wasn't just "bad... it's very bad".

9 Escape - Metallica

James Hetfield hated it because he wrote it to please the record label, who wanted a radio-friendly song to promote the album. They have only played it once, at the 2012 Orion Music + More Festival, while playing Ride the Lightning in its entirety. (Ironically, "Escape" is now the least popular/recognized song on the album).

10 Daddy - Korn

Until 2015, lead singer Jonathan Davis didn't perform the song live because of the song's subject matter. I don't want to describe it in full detail; if you don't know about it already, look it up (but only if you're 18 or older; children should not be reading about this song).

The Contenders
11 (You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party) - Beastie Boys

Mike D from The Beastie Boys - "The only thing that upsets me is that we might have reinforced certain values of some people in our audience when our own values were actually totally different. There were tons of guys singing along to "Fight for Your Right" who were oblivious to the fact it was a total goof on them."

So basically the song is an ironic parody of "party" themed songs. Since the irony of the song was lost to most listeners they decided to just stop performing the song.

12 Coma - Guns N' Roses

My dad saw this live!

5 years ago. They play this song very commonly.

13 Cleanin Out My Closet - Eminem
14 D'yer Mak'er - Led Zeppelin
15 Northern Downpour - Panic! at the Disco

A beautiful heartfelt song written by former Panic! At The Disco member, Ryan Ross. The song brings tears to Brendon Urie's eyes every time he sings it.

16 Creep - Radiohead

Yup, they often refuse to play it live and get angry if it's asked.

17 Misery Business - Paramore

I'm not sure I should have added this given that it was years after its release that it was announced they would not perform it anymore.

18 Pinball Wizard - The Who

No. Pete Townshend hates this song, but that doesn't stop him from performing it. According to, it's the third most frequently played Who song.

19 Put Your Hearts Up - Ariana Grande

She has a good reason to not like this song. It doesn't sound like her, it sounds like Cat. Also, the vibe of this song really isn't her thing. It was also a learning expercience for her so this doesn't really count as one of her greatest hits to sing live.

20 Island Girl - Elton John
21 Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana
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