Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Songs That Name Other Bands or Songs

Doug: It has occurred to me that the Beatles show up in other people's song lyrics, maybe more than you'd think. Here are a few examples --

Peter, Paul, and Mary, I Dig Rock and Roll Music (1968)

And when the Beatles tell you
They've got a word "love" to sell you
They mean exactly what they say

Dream Academy, Life in a Northern Town (1985)

He said, "In winter 1963
It felt like the world would freeze
With John F. Kennedy and the Beatles"

Sugarloaf, Don't Call Us We'll Call You (1975)

Listen kid you paid for the call
You ain't bad but we've heard it all before
And it sounds like John, Paul and George

Bad Company, Shooting Star (1975)

Johnny was a schoolboy
When he heard his first Beatles song
Love Me Do, I think it was
And from then it didn't take him long

Doug: And then there are artists who name specific songs of other artists, and perhaps even appropriate their music or some close facsimile:

Kid Rock, All Summer Long (2008)

And we were trying different things
We were smoking funny things
Making love out by the lake to our favorite song
Sipping whiskey out the bottle, not thinking 'bout tomorrow
Singing Sweet Home Alabama all summer long
Singing Sweet Home Alabama all summer long

Johnny Rivers, Summer Rain (1973)

All summer long, we spent dancin' in the sand
And the jukebox kept on playin'
Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

Doug: So there's your charge today -- name as many songs as possible that either name another artist or another artist's song within their own song. Good luck!


Edo Bosnar said...

Interesting that you mentioned Dream Academy's "Life in a Northern Town," because as soon as I saw the post title, that now obscure mid-'80s hit was the very first song I thought of.

Anyway, I'm sure I'll think of many more later, but one that came to mind right after the Dream Academy is the Who's "Seeker," which mentions, yes, the Beatles, but also Dylan. To wit:
"I asked Bobby Dylan
I asked the Beatles
I asked Timothy Leary
But he couldn't help me either.

Another one that I just listened to last week, so it's kind of fresh in my mind, is Betty Davis' "They Say I'm Different," in which she mentions Robert Johnson, Elmore James, Chuck Berry, Bessie Smith and pretty much every other blues great. It'll be easier to just provide a link to the lyrics.

Abe Lucas said...

Lynyrd Skynrd name drop Neil Young in a derogatory way in that always-played-on-the-radio-between-endless-commercials song, "Sweet Home Alabama."

Can ya tell I'm not a fan of Lynyrd Skynrd? (did I even spell it right?).

Martinex1 said...

In the Who's " You Better You Bet"

"but I drunk myself blind to the sound of old T-Rex
to the sound of old T-Rex, oh and Who's Next"

And in Wall of Voodoo's "Far Side of Crazy",

"I wept when Lennon died .... Cried for all those Beatle fans , so old so quick they grow..."

J.A. Morris said...

The Clash sings "No Elvis, Beatles or the Rolling Stones" in '1977'. I'm guessing the Clash weren't fans of the previous years' Stones album 'Black And Blue'.

J.A. Morris said...

Eric Bourdon and the (new) Animals mention other bands in 'Monterrey':

The Byrds and the Airplane
Did fly
Oh, Ravi Shankar's
Music made me cry

The Who exploded
Into violent light (yeah)
Hugh Masekelas music
Was black as night

The Grateful Dead
Blew everybody's mind
Jimi Hendrix, baby
Believe me
Set the world on fire, yeah!

Abe Lucas said...

The Burton Lane-penned song "How About You?"--at least when Sinatra sang it-- mentions "I like a Gershwin tune."

The Groovy Agent said...

To give you one that's not only very obscure but also comicbook related, The Archies had a song called "Waldo P. Emerson Jones" that name dropped not only Rock Hudson and Superman, but there's a line that says, "...he knows the Beatles, S&G (Simon and Garfunkel for you young'uns), and Jimmy Paige..."

Cool topic!

Anonymous said...

The first song that came to mind was that one from a couple of years ago by Maroon 5 called "Moves Like Jagger".

Redartz said...

J.A.- you may be right about the Clash. From "London Calling"- "...phony Beatlemania has bitten the dust...".

And for the list:
Tom Tom Club," Genius of Love": "...James Brown, James Brown..."

And here's an obscure one:
Gruppo Sportivo, from "Goodbye Radio":
"...Someone plays a stupid game with a dj on the phone, who doesn't know the difference between the Beatles and the Stones"...

Anonymous said...

One of my favorite lines by John Hiatt:

Now I'm in my car, I've got the radio on
I'm yelling at the kids in the back seat
'Cause they're bangin like Charlie Watts (followed by a some quick Charlie Watts' style drumming) from the song "Slow Tuning."

Also from Hiatt, "Memphis in the Meantime:"

Maybe you can wait that long, but I don't think Ronnie Millsap's gonna ever record this song.

Hiatt has changed the singer's name over the years I remember hearing him sing "Billy Ray Cyrus," and recently, "Trace Adkins."

Scott Lovrine

Doug said...

Wow! This is a heckuva start, just 90 minutes into this.

I like these sorts of topics, as it gives me incentive to check out music that I may not know about.


Abe Lucas said...

John Cougar Mellencamp's "R.O.C.K. in the USA" names:

"There was Frankie Lyman-Bobby Fuller-Mitch Ryder
(They were Rockin')
Jackie Wilson-Shangra-las-Young Rascals
(They were Rockin')
Spotlight on Martha Reeves
Let's don't forget James Brown"

Abe Lucas said...

Some more come to mind:

"I Just Shot John Lennon"- The Cranberries

""Man on the Moon"- R.E.M. mentions Elvis.

J.A. Morris said...

The Descendants have a song called 'Catalina' that contains these lyrics:
I'll steal some gas, fix my motor
Turn on my Beatles tape
And get you out of my head

Later in the song, they substitute the Doors for the Beatles, here's the song if you're interested:

Dead Milkmen have a song called 'When Ringo Buys A Rifle' that explores what would happen if Ringo gets tired of jokes made at his expense ("he's the luckiest man who ever lived", etc):


Martinex1 said...

On the way to work, I couldn't stop thinking about examples. Here are some probably obscure ones:

Squeeze on "Electric Trains" sings:

"...sound of music passed by me
just like the grateful dead...
From Julie Andrews to Jerry Garcia
Life was all fun and games."

Mary's Danish had a song "Axyl Rose is Love" which included that lyric.

Steely Dan sang, "Hey nineteen; that's 'Retha Franklin"

Mott The Hoople in "All The Young Dudes" had:

"And my brother's back home with his Beatles and his Stones"

And again, Wall of Voodoo had a song "Elvis Bought Dora a Cadillac" all about Elvis buying Dora a Cadillac.

Doug said...

In Cheap Trick's Surrender, there's the line

Got my KISS records out


Tony said...

Sweet Soul Music

"Sweet Soul Music"

Do you like good music
That sweet soul music
Just as long as it's swingin'
Oh yeah, oh yeah

Out here on the floor now
We're going to a go go
Ah dancin to the music
Oh yeah, oh yeah

Spotlight on Lou Rawls y'all
Ah don't he look tall y'all
Singin' loves a hurtin' thing now
Oh yeah, oh yeah

Spotlight on Sam and Dave now
Ah don't they look boss y'all
Singin' hold on I'm comin'
Oh yeah, oh yeah

Spotlight on Wilson Pickett
That wicked picket Pickett
Singin Mustang Sally
Oh yeah, oh yeah

Spotlight on Otis Redding now
Singing fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa
Fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa
Oh yeah, oh yeah

Spotlight on James Brown now
He's the king of them all, yeah
He's the king of them all, yeah
Oh yeah, oh yeah

Gary said...

Deep Purple's Smoke on the Water mentions Frank Zappa and the Mothers.

The Prowler said...

I know I should be working on a project that's due Thursday but I just couidn't tear myself away..........

Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old)
Garth Brooks Mentions Chris LeDoux

Kesha Tik Tok Mentions Mick Jagger

Brad Paisley This Is Country Music Mentions Country Road
He Stopped Loving Her Today
Hello Darling
God Bless the USA
Amarillo by the Morning
Stand by your Man
Mama Tried
Take Me Home
I Walk the Line
Country Boy Can Survive

Brad Paisley American Saturday Night Mentions The Beatles Back In The USSR

Waylon Jennings Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way
Alan Jackson Midnight In Montgomery &
David Allan Coe The Ride
All Mention Hank Williams

Billy Joel We Didn't Start The Fire Mentions quite a few acts

Eddie Money Take Me Home Tonight Mentions Ronnie Spector (and has her singing in the song!)

Tom Petty Running Down A Dream Mention Del (Shannon) singing Little Runaway

(Here's a space where a guy usually puts a song but he posted about songs above so now this space doesn't have a song in it).

Garett said...

3 Dog Night, Never Been to Spain:
"Well, I've never been to England
But I kinda like the Beatles"

Stevie Wonder, Sir Duke:
"Music knows it is and always will
Be one of the things that life just won't quit
But here are some of music's pioneers
That time will not allow us to forget
For there's Basie, Miller, Sachmo
And the king of all Sir Duke
And with a voice like Ella's ringing out
There's no way the band can lose"

Abe Lucas said...

Good one, Garrett. :)

Reminds me of the "Duets" version of Mack the Knife (Sinatra and Jimmy Buffet):

"Sachmo Louis Armstrong, Bobby Darin...they gave this song/so much feeling..."

Edo Bosnar said...

Yep, thought of a few more this afternoon while taking my dog for a walk, like Skynyrd dissing Neil Young and the Who mentioning T-rex, but I see others here also thought of those.
Well, I also recalled Public Enemy's "Bring the Noise," which, again, includes a number of other bands and singers:
"Beat is for Sonny Bono,
beat is for Yoko Ono
Run-DMC first said a deejay
could be a band
Stand on its feet,
get you out your seat
Beat is for Eric B.
and LL as well, hell
Wax is for Anthrax,
still it can rock bells..."

Which, of course, led to a collaboration with Anthrax.

Garett said...

Big & Rich-- Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy:
"Her evaluation of my cowboy reputation
Had me begging for salvation all night long
So I took her out giggin' frogs
Introduced her to my old bird dog
And sang her every Wilie Nelson song I could think of
And we made love"

Counting Crows, Mr. Jones:
"I want to be Bob Dylan"

And I don't think she's a singer, but Michelle Pfeiffer gets mentioned in 2 recent songs.
Vance Joy, Riptide:
"I swear she's destined for the screen
Closest thing to Michelle Pfeiffer that you've ever seen"

Bruno Mars/Mark Ronson, Uptown Funk:
"This hit, that ice cold
Michelle Pfeiffer that white gold
This one, for them hood girls
Them good girls, straight masterpieces"
My band's been playing both at gigs, and people go crazy for Uptown Funk.

Garett said...

Train, Soul Sister:
"Hey soul sister, ain't that Mr. Mister on the radio, stereo
The way you move ain't fair you know"

SteveDoesComics said...

The first thing that popped into my head was Paul McCartney by the Scissor Sisters.

To my shame, I also thought of (I Feel Like) Buddy Holly by Alvin Stardust. There goes my musical credibility.

You Worthless Thing by Elvis Costello mentions, "Vintage Elvis Presley wine."

Then there's Kirstie MacColl's There's A Guy Works Down The Chip Shop Swears He's Elvis.

And Kate Bush's King Of The Mountain - "Elvis, are you out there somewhere? Looking like a happy man? In the snow with Rosebud and King of the Mountain."

Dexy's Midnight Runners' Come On Eileen gave us, "Poor old Johnnie Ray."

Redartz said...

I'm going for the cheap shot here, the mother lode of references: Reunion, " Life is a Rock (But the Radio Rolled Me)". Way too much to mention all, but includes B Bumble and the Stingers, Mott the Hoople, Lesley Gore, Ritchie Valens, David Bowie, Steely Dan, and on, and on, and on...

Dr. Oyola said...

Prince mentions Joni Mitchell's "Help Me, I think I'm Fallin'" in his song " The Ballad of Dorothy Parker."

The Beatles "Yer Blues" mentions "Just like Dylan's Mr. Jones"

David Bowie/Mott the Hoople "All the Young Dudes" mentions T Rex

And I am sure I will recall more examples later

Dr. Oyola said...

Like Stevie Wonder's "Sir Duke"

But here are some of music's pioneers
That time will not allow us to forget
For there's Basie, Miller, Sachimo
And the king of all Sir Duke
And with a voice like Ella's ringing out
There's no way the band can lose

Anonymous said...

I love that Arthur Conley song, but Tony beat me to it! Off the top of my head there's:

"Buddy Holly" by Weezer, "Alex Chilton" by the Replacements, and "Beatles and the Stones" by House of Love;

"Innocent" by Our Lady Peace has the line "Johnny wishes he was famous/Spends his time alone in the basement/With Lennon and Cobain and/A guitar and a stereo";

"Riot Girl" by Good Charlotte says "...she likes Minor Threat, she likes Social Distortion";

"In Love with the 80s" by the Relient K has the line "...and my favourite band will always be Tears for Fears";

"Teenage Dirtbag" by Wheatus mentions Iron Maiden;

"Girl All the Bad Guys Want" by Bowling for Soup has "She likes the Godsmack and I like Agent Orange/Her CD changer's full of singers that are mad at their dads";

and "1985" by Bowling for Soup has a bunch of references (Ozzy, Madonna, Springsteen, Nirvana, U2, Blondie, Limp Bizkit, etc.)

Mike Wilson

Dr. O said...

"There's three of us, but we're not the Beatles!" -Run-DMC "King of Rock"

Edo Bosnar said...

I'm wondering if I should even wade into Don McLean's "American Pie," filled as it is with so many veiled and not-so-veiled pop cultural and musical references, but here goes:
He mentions John Lennon and, indirectly, the Beatles:
"And while Lennon read a book on Marx; The quartet practiced in the park..."
And also the song "Helter Skelter":
"Helter Skelter in a summer swelter..." (also alluding to the Charles Manson killings);
While in the next lines he (probably) refers to the Byrds and their hit "Eight Miles High":
"The birds flew off with a fallout shelter, Eight miles high and falling fast."

By the way, Osvaldo, Garett beat you to the punch on Sir Duke...

Anonymous said...

Off the top of my head:

Primus, "Mr. Krinkle:" Jimi Hendrix, Bocephus, Cher, James Brown
The Clash, "White Man in Hammersmith Palais:" Four Tops
Tower of Power, "Still Diggin' on James Brown"
LCD Soundsystem, " Daft Punk is Playing at My House"
The Wombats, "Let's Dance to Joy Division"
Neil Young, "Buffalo Springfield Again"
Neil Young, "My My Hey Hey:" Johnny Rotten
Red Hot Chilli Peppers:" Give it Away"
Weezer, "In the Garage:" KISS ( and Kitty Pryde & Nightcrawler!)
The Dead Milkmen, "You'll Dance to Anything:" too many to mention, including Depeche Mode and the Smiths
The Dead Milkmen, "Punk Rock Girl:" The Beach Boys
The Dead Milkmen, "Bitchin' Camaro:" The Doors
The Beastie Boys, "Sabotage:" Buddy Rich
The Beastie Boys, "So Whatcha Want?:" Spoonie Gee
Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros, " Yalla Yalla:" Spoonie Gee & the Treacherous 3
Public Enemy, "Fight the Power:" Elvis
Blondie, "Rapture:" I think the Flash mentioned is Grandmaster Flash
King's X, "Black Flag"
Bob Dylan, "Thunder on the Mountain:" Alicia Keys
The Residents, can't remember the name of the song: Kurt Cobain
Friggin' Miley Cyrus, "Party in the USA:" Jay-Z, Britteny Spears
Chuck Berry, "Roll Over Beethoven"
John Lennon, "Oh Yoko"
R.E.M., "It's the End of the World as We Know It:" Leonard Bernstein
Pavement, "Unseen Power of Picket Fences:" R.E.M.

- Mike Loughlin

The Groovy Agent said...

One of John Mellancamp's early hits (when he was John Cougar), "Ain't Even Done With the Night" has the line:

You got your hands in my back pockets
And Sam Cooke singin' on the radio...

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