Drag and music go together like peanut butter and jelly. There are so many facets to a great drag performance, but one of the primary methods includes dancing and lip-syncing to a song of the performer’s choice. While some drag queens choose to make their own music (see: Trixie Mattel), most will at least get their career started (and continue on) by creating a set around some iconic songs.
While every drag queen has their own style and taste – as is the case with any artist or creative – there are definitely a few songs that have made their way into the drag songbook as classics to stand the test of time.
Of course, there are some songs that were made for drag, but all the same, some classic songs just happen to be perfect for drag by sheer coincidence. Whether you’ve been to a drag show before or you’re just learning, here are a few songs you might just hear in a drag performance.
Six classic songs that became drag anthems:
‘Dancing Queen’ – ABBA
Getting started with the classic to top all classics, ‘Dancing Queen’ by ABBA is among the many drag songs you’ll hear quite a lot if you enter the drag scene, although this is one that many queens refer to as the “straight people set” nowadays.
Regardless, ‘Dancing Queen’ is perfect for drag, and not only because everybody knows the words.
‘Material Girl’ – Madonna
Yet another pop classic, ‘Material Girl’ by Madonna is perfect for the queens with the costumes and the makeup that completely stops the show. However, anybody can be a material girl. And that’s what drag is all about, isn’t it?
This is another fun one that everyone in the crowd can dance to and let loose, so it makes for the perfect party set.
‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ – Whitney Houston
Did somebody say “party”? If there was ever a perfect classic song that has become popular in the drag community, ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ has got to take the cake. Not only is it a powerful and upbeat song that makes for a great lip sync, but the choreography options are endless.
Again, this one might enter the “straight people set” territory, but it’s still a classic that anyone can enjoy.
‘If I Could Turn Back Time’ – Cher
Now we’re getting into some of the classic classics. Cher’s ‘If I Could Turn Back Time’ is actually a relatively popular choice in terms of drag performances, but is that too surprising? Cher is an icon of the LGBTQIA+ community, both in terms of her music and her style.
This jam straddles the line of dramatic ballad and bop, which uniquely qualifies it to be a drag anthem, when you think about it.
‘Alone’ – Heart
Heart is another artist choice that makes a ton of sense for drag icon status—at the very least, for this song. It’s filled with drama, has a vintage charm, builds with the progression of the music, and boasts has words that everyone knows.
This might not be the dance spectacle of the drag set, but it absolutely has a place in the lip sync for plenty of queens.
‘Dancing On My Own’ – Robyn
OK, if the definition of “classic” can get flexible for just a moment, Robyn’s ‘Dancing On My Own’ is a modern classic that the drag scene has adopted and never let go of since. I’ve literally heard it described as “the ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ of gay people”, and I lovingly agree.
It sort of is the perfect recipe for a drag song, yet again, with an impeccable sense of upbeat drama. When I hear it, I definitely want to go to the next available drag show.