Saturday, October 6, 2007

Songs That Reference Other Singers or Bands

For no particular reason I began noticing songs that contain lyrics referencing other musicians, singers or bands. I began writing a few down, and the list has continued to grow. I bet there are scores of other examples that I hope other people will post. Here is my collection, in no particular order.

The format is:
"Song Title", by Artist
"Lyric mentioning other singers or bands"

“Elvis Has Just Left The Building” by Frank Zappa
“Elvis has just left the building.”

“Jackie Wilson Said”, by Van Morrison
“Jackie Wilson said….”

“Twisting”, by They Might Be Giants
“She doesn’t have to have her Young Fresh Fellows tape back.”
“She doesn’t have to have her dB’s record back now”

"Caroline Hardcore Ecstasy", by Frank Zappa
“She put a Doobie Brothers tape on.
I had a Roger Daltry cape on….”

“Sweet Home Alabama”, by Lynyrd Skynyrd
“I hope Neil Young will remember…”

“Surrender”, by Cheap Trick
“Got my Kiss records out…”

“I Only Want To Be With You”, by Hootie and the Blowfish
“Ain’t Bobby so cool?” (referring to Bob Dylan)

“The South’s Gonna Do It Again”, by Charlie Daniels Band
(Just about every ‘70’s-era Southern rock band)

“Alex Chilton”, by The Replacements
“I never travel far without a little Big Star”

“Life is A Rock”, by Reunion
(Includes references to Mott the Hoople, Ray Charles, Poco, Deep Purple, Leslie Gore, Richie Valens, The Archies, Harry Nillson, Carly Simon, Johnny Cash, Johnny Rivers, Peter Paul and Mary, Dr. John, Leon Russell, Wilson Pickett, John Denver, J J Cale, Z Z Top, Steely Dan, Donny Osmond, Edgar Winter, Eric Clapton, and many others.)

“Genius of Love”, Tom Tom Club
(Includes references to Smokey Robinson, Bob Marley, Sly and Robbie, Kurtis Blow, Bohannon, and James Brown)

“I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts”, by X
“What about the Minutemen, Flesheaters, DOA, Minutemen, Big Boys and the Black Flag?”

“We’re An American Band”, Grand Funk Railrod
“Up all night with Freddie King.”

"All the Young Dudes", David Bowie, Mott the Hoople
“I need TV when I got T Rex".”

“Yer Blues”, The Beatles
“Feel so suicidal, just like Dylan’s Mr. Jones”

“My My, Hey Hey”, by Neil Young
“This is the story of Johnny Rotten”

“Brian Wilson” by Barenaked Ladies
“Lying in bed, just like Brian Wilson did…”

“Be My Yoko Ono” by Barenaked ladies
“You can be my Yoko Ono”

“God” by John Lennon
“I don’t believe in Elvis, I don’t believe in Zimmerman, I don’t believe in Beatles”

“Story of Bo Diddley”, by the Animals
(References Bob Dylan, Johnny Otis, The Rolling Stones, and of course Bo Diddley)

“Modern Times”, Bob Dylan
“I was thinking about Alicia Keys…”

“Smoke On The Water”, by Deep Purple
“Frank Zappa and the Mothers were at the best place around.”

“Hip Shake”, by Rolling Stones
“What do you know, there’s Slim Harpo”

“Buddy Holly”, by Weezer
“I look just like Buddy Holly”

“Ball of Confusion”, by The Temptations
“The Beatles’ new record’s a gas”

“Creeque Alley”, Mamas and Papas
References “(Roger) McGuinn and (Barry) McGuire”, also “The Spoonful”

“Fight The Power”, Public Enemy
“Elvis was a hero to most, but he never meant shit to me”

Special mention:
“Boys of Summer”, by Don Henley
“I saw a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac” (This is not an actual band reference, but it's mighty close)

Double Extra-Special Mention:
“King’s Lead Hat”, by Brian Eno
(the title is an anagram of Talking Heads)

The following songs are bands that reference themselves:

“Public Image”, by Public Image Ltd.

“We Are Devo”, Devo

“We’re the Monkees”, The Monkees

“This is Radio Clash”, by The Clash

“Ballad of Mott The Hoople”, Mott the Hoople

"Show Business Kids", Steely Dan
“They got the Steely Dan t-shirt”

“Have a Cigar”, Pink Floyd
“Which one’s Pink?”

“Be My Lover”, Alice Cooper
“She asked me why the singer’s name was Alice”

“Sweet Baby James”, James Taylor

“Hey Bo Diddley”, Bo Diddley

Almost every Hank Williams Jr. song ever recorded

Finally, there is already a list of songs that mention other songs. To find it, click here.


Angela said...

one of my fav's is Hootie and the Blowfish's "I only want to be with you" where they sing "put on a little Dillon sitting on a fence."
It references Dillon Fence, a band from NC (who I love).

Angela said...

ooh, I thought of another--Jackson browne's "of Missing Persons" is about his friend, Lowell George (little feat)for his daughter (and Jackson's Goddaughter)
yep, I am officially a dork

Carla said...

"Comfortable", by John Mayer
from the Inside Wants Out Album

"Life of the party, she swears
that she's artsy
but you could distinguish Miles
from Contrane."

References Miles Davis & John Contrane

Carla said...

OOPS, Missed John Coltrane's last name on the previous post!