Summerfest 2023 is right around the corner. This year, an eclectic selection of artists spanning numerous genres will make their way to Milwaukee to provide a week of spectacular music. As you decide which acts you want to see during the festival, check out this list to discover the best song from some of the Summerfest-performing artists.
Great Songs From the 2023 Summerfest Lineup
Here are nine must-see Summerfest performers and the best songs they’ve released:
Earth, Wind & Fire — “September”
The funk music icons Earth, Wind & Fire are headlining Summerfest’s Friday slate. Their song, “September,” is an upbeat, nostalgic song that is one of the most recognizable funk songs from the 1970s. Written by Al McKay, Maurice White and Allee Willis, “September” came out in 1978. Not only did he hit Number 1 on the Billboard charts when released, the song regularly gets a spike in sales and downloads each September.
Dave Matthews Band — “#41”
The 41st time’s the charm. Dave Matthews Band’s talent is on full display in “#41,” from their 1996 album “Crash.” The song’s name comes from the fact that it is the 41st song the band wrote. Alongside Dave Matthews’ vocals, the blend of acoustic guitar, electric guitar, saxophone and fiddle makes “#41” an excellent representation of everything the band has to offer.
Elle King — “Ex’s & Oh’s”
Elle King took the music industry by storm with her pop hit “Ex’s & Oh’s,” which she released in 2015 for the album “Love Stuff.” This song has a bluesy, soulful groove that sets the groundwork for King’s bold vocals. The song is about bad exes wanting back in her life — something many listeners may relate to.
Eric Church — “Springsteen”
Eric Church is a prominent country artist from Blowing Rock, North Carolina. Church’s 2011 song “Springsteen” from the album “Chief” is a prime example of the singer’s connection with America’s heartland. The song is about time spent growing up in a small town listening to Bruce Springsteen. The acoustic rhythm guitar and smooth electric guitar leads over a four-on-the-floor beat make “Springsteen” a powerful ode to the old days.
ODESZA — “Divide”
Whether you’re a long-time fan of electronic music or new to the style, ODESZA is a duo you’ll love to see perform. Their 2017 song “Divide,” featuring vocals from Kelsey Bulkin, has a danceable beat under airy synthesizers and chimes. The chorus explodes with a driving bass drum and synth chords that swell with every kick.
Cheap Trick — “I Want You to Want Me”
Cheap Trick has many hits that are excellent candidates for their best song. One that stands out immediately as both fun and musically intriguing is “I Want You to Want Me” from their 1982 album “In Color.” This song kicks off with dueling guitars that create a satisfying harmony. The song’s catchy lyrics evoke desire and passion. All the pieces come together to make a song that sounds amazing live.
Styx — “Renegade”
Styx, the rock icons from Chicago, have plenty of hits from their long tenure as touring musicians. Their 1978 song “Renegade” is perhaps the best song in the Styx catalog. It starts out with a single foreboding voice, introduces a vocal harmony and then kicks in with a stomping rock beat. “Renegade” will make you feel like you’re on the run in the best way.
Marcus King — “The Well”
Southern rock and blues are in good hands thanks to 27-year-old Marcus King. With powerful blues instrumentals and soulful lyrics, this artist is a must-see Summerfest performer. The song “The Well” from 2020 is a great example of everything Marcus King does well. From ripping blues guitar licks to powerful lyrics and a raspy, inspired vocal performance, “The Well” is an amazing modern blues song, and perhaps the best he has written.
AJR — “I’m Ready”
The song “I’m Ready” rocketed this band to fame in May 2014, when it achieved the coveted number-one spot on Next Big Sound’s chart. AJR, which consists of brothers Adam, Jack and Ryan Metzger, continues to make popular music today. Be sure to listen for the sample from the SpongeBob SquarePants pilot episode.
Discover Classic and Contemporary Music With Record Head
Looking for things to do at Summerfest? You can find deals on the albums that make up the festival’s soundtrack at Record Head in West Allis. We have hundreds of used CDs and vinyl, including many from the artists performing at Summerfest. We’re just outside of Milwaukee, so you can stop in while you’re here for the big event.