Writing a hit song seems like a real pain. I mean, think about it. Once your fans hear the hit song, they will expect you to play it at every show for the rest of your life.
This is one of the primary reasons, among at least a dozen, why I’ve never written a smash hit. It’s too constricting.
I prefer to write songs no one knows, so they won’t expect me to play them. Sometimes, my resolve to only write the unmemorable is weak. The urge to write a Billboard chart-topper starts to nag at me like a loaded Pachelbel’s Canon. Then, I remind myself of Green Day and their hit song, ‘When I Come Around.’ Do you know how many times they’ve been forced to play that song?
Well…I don’t either, so let’s figure it out, so the number can scare me back into mediocrity.
To calculate this number, we need to know the number of shows Green Day has played since ‘When I Come Around’ was released in 1994. This number is believed to be 1,290. I figure the song has a 90% play rate at shows, but I also assume the song is played at practices, while being recorded, and at other non-tour stop shows. To account for these bonus plays, let’s assume the song is played “for some other reason” every other week. But let’s also say the percentage of “for some other reason” plays decreases by 1% each year as the song ages.
With all that in mind, I can absolutely say that Green Day has played their smash hit song, ‘When I Come Around,’ 2170 times. And you see, that’s my point. I don’t want to be locked into playing a song that frequently (which in Green Day’s case equates to them having to play that song every five days). It’s just a real hassle to play the same song so much, and that’s why I don’t write hit tunes.