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Self-referencing songs
February 4, 2014 1:10 PM   Subscribe

Looking for songs that mention the name of the band/artist performing it. For example, Roxette's "Joyride."

Obviously, many MANY rap/hip-hop/R&B songs do this, so I'm primarily looking at more pop/AOR songs. If it hit the Top 40, I'd allow it - Boyz II Men ("Motownphilly") or Bell Biv Devoe ("Poison") would count, but Ice Cube would not.

[related but different previous Ask]
posted by Chrysostom to Media & Arts (78 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
A Murder of One by Counting Crows
posted by jabes at 1:13 PM on February 4

Weird, I was just thinking yesterday about asking this same question.

KMFDM - Sucks
posted by sacrifix at 1:15 PM on February 4 [1 favorite]

"Maria Maria" by Carlos Santana.
posted by Omnomnom at 1:19 PM on February 4

They Might Be Giants do it in "They Might Be Giants" and "They Got Lost." (And "Sapphire Bullets" if you count the mention of the name John.)
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:19 PM on February 4 [1 favorite]

The lyrics of Nth Degree by Morningwood are essentially just the band spelling out its name, and the video is a delight.
posted by drdanger at 1:20 PM on February 4 [1 favorite]

Hook, by Blues Traveler. Mefi post about same.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:21 PM on February 4

I'm From Barcelona - We're From Barcelona.
posted by jessicapierce at 1:21 PM on February 4

The Hold Steady has turned this into an art form: examples.
posted by julthumbscrew at 1:22 PM on February 4 [1 favorite]

Pop Will Eat Itself were in love with their own name, I think.

England's Finest

Probably a bunch others.
posted by workerant at 1:22 PM on February 4 [3 favorites]

Craig Finn is notorious for doing this. Below are the first few examples that came to mind.

I could use a little diet soda / or maybe just a little Lifter Puller
(Lifter Puller, "To Live And Die In LBI")

Craig Finn is to the city like Jonah is to the whale / swallowed whole and disappeared and emerging from the entrails
(The Brokerdealer, "Do Me Nails")

I got bored when I didn't have a band, so I started a band / we're gonna start it with a positive jam / hold steady
(The Hold Steady, "Positive Jam")

hold steady, Ybor City [...] They're slipping Soft Rock into the setlist now
(The Hold Steady, "Most People Are DJs" -- NB Soft Rock is actually by Lifter Puller)

it's hard to hold steady when half your friends are dead already
(The Hold Steady, "Knuckles")
posted by divined by radio at 1:23 PM on February 4 [2 favorites]

Danish good time weirdos Junior Senior do this often, I think. E.g., Go Junior, Go Senior.

Yeah, PWEI! Beaming out a message across the nation!
posted by Admiral Haddock at 1:24 PM on February 4

TVTropes: Singer Namedrop
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:25 PM on February 4 [2 favorites]

Pogo_Fuzzybutt: "Hook , by Blues Traveler. Mefi post about same."

I don't think the words "Blues Traveler" appear in the lyrics to Hook. That's what I'm looking for, not general self-referentiality (Elton John's "Your Song" is NOT what I am after).
posted by Chrysostom at 1:25 PM on February 4

The Clash, Radio Clash
Talk Talk, Talk Talk
posted by scody at 1:26 PM on February 4 [1 favorite]

Steely Dan's "Show Biz Kids" mentions Steely Dan t-shirts.
posted by ubiquity at 1:26 PM on February 4 [3 favorites]

Hey! Hey! We're the Monkees!
posted by 1970s Antihero at 1:27 PM on February 4 [1 favorite]

Fight For Your Right - "Aww, Mom you're just jealous it's the Bea-Stie-Boys!"
posted by mannequito at 1:28 PM on February 4 [1 favorite]

I vaguely remember this being kind of a third wave ska thing; offhand I know Mephiskapheles, Gals Panic, and Weaker Youth Ensemble had songs with self-referential titles (and lyrics), and in my head I can hear The Toasters doing it too.
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:28 PM on February 4

"Graham Smith Is The Strongest Man Alive,", by Kleenex Girl Wonder (which is basically Graham Smith.)
posted by escabeche at 1:29 PM on February 4

Belle & Sebastian do it in their song, Belle & Sebastian
posted by 2bucksplus at 1:29 PM on February 4

And of course "Bad Company."
posted by escabeche at 1:29 PM on February 4

Queen - I Go Crazy
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 1:29 PM on February 4

Oh, and if you stretch it a little, Ziggy Stardust would count, given that Bowie was identified with the persona of Ziggy at the time, and his band really was called The Spiders from Mars.
posted by scody at 1:30 PM on February 4

They Might Be Giants
posted by Obscure Reference at 1:31 PM on February 4

Scroll down a bit here for a short list.

Also see here and here.

This is probably of use too.
posted by jessicapierce at 1:31 PM on February 4

and here
posted by ManInSuit at 1:32 PM on February 4

Peter Gabriel covered a Vampire Weekend song ("Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa") that mentioned him by name.
posted by kindall at 1:36 PM on February 4

There's Tenth Avenue Freeze-out, which is sort of autobiographical.

When the change was made uptown
And the big man joined the band
From the coastline to the city
All the little pretties raise their hands
Im gonna sit back right easy and laugh
When scooter and the big man bust this city in half
With a tenth avenue freeze-out

The Big Man is obviously Clarence Clemons, and Bad Scooter is Springsteen.
posted by supercres at 1:41 PM on February 4

(I should say, autobiographical about the formation of the band, hence my mentioning it here.)
posted by supercres at 1:41 PM on February 4

Pink Floyd sort of does it in "Have a Cigar", though I don't know if it ever made the top 40.

The band is just fantastic, that is really what I think.
Oh by the way, which one's Pink?

And then when Primus covered it they put in a little self-referential in-joke "The band is just fantastic of the town you are the talk, but who the hell's this guy they call Bob Cock?"
posted by bondcliff at 1:42 PM on February 4 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I was just saying any pop or AOR; rap/hip hop if it was very popular. Excluding run of the mill rap songs because of quantity; I could think of two dozen Ice-T songs of the top of my head, for example.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:50 PM on February 4

The Gothic Archies - We Are The Gothic Archies
posted by Free word order! at 1:51 PM on February 4

Queen - Killer Queen
posted by drlith at 1:55 PM on February 4

I can't believe nobody has mentioned Everybody Wang Chung Tonight yet.
posted by anastasiav at 1:58 PM on February 4 [8 favorites]

Living in a Box by Living in a Box from the album Living in a Box
posted by mcstayinskool at 2:00 PM on February 4 [3 favorites]

Off the top of my head, mainly recent pop and 90s teen pop:

- Beyonce does this a couple of times on her new self-titled album. (Maybe others, but definitely "Jealous", "Yonce" and "Partition")

- There's a bit on "22" by Taylor Swift where she's complaining about hipsters and there's a spoken word "Who's Taylor Swift anyway?"

- If Ke$ha counts as not too rappy, there's "Crazy Kids" ("I see you in the club, showin' Ke$ha love")

- Also the Spice Girls talk about each member in the little "rap" break in "Wannabe" and of course there's "Spice Up Your Life."

- "Ain't No Party Like an S Club Party"

- "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)"

- On Britney Spears' "Piece of Me", "I'm Mrs Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, Miss Oh my god that Britney's shameless"
posted by SoftRain at 2:00 PM on February 4

Eminem does this a lot.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 2:06 PM on February 4

Stray Cat Strut by Stray Cats.
posted by O9scar at 2:09 PM on February 4

Janet Jackson, Nasty Boys - (Miss Jackson, if you're nasty.)
Ani DiFranco does this a couple times: Talk to Me Now (he said, 'Ani, you've gotten tough'), Blood in the Boardroom (he says 'Call me, Miss DiFranco if there's anything I can do,' and I said 'It's Mister DeFranco to you.')
posted by mochapickle at 2:11 PM on February 4

Britney also famously references her name in Piece of Me: It's Britney, Bitch
posted by mochapickle at 2:12 PM on February 4

Absolute Perfection by Private Domain and Pato Bantan.
posted by bluejayway at 2:26 PM on February 4

Also, debatable, but P-Funk.
posted by bluejayway at 2:29 PM on February 4

Ramones do this:

'Return of Jackie and Judy' ("they both came up to New York just to see the Ramones").
'Ramona' comes close to having the band name (and names all the band members, so is pretty explicitly about the band)

They cover 'R.A.M.O.N.E.S.' (originally by Motorhead).

You could maybe also say Motorhead, but they took their name from the song rather than the other way around.

Add 'We Are the Clash' to scody's suggestion above.
posted by Pink Frost at 2:35 PM on February 4

Give it to the Soft Boys. By the Soft Boys.
posted by ROTFL at 2:36 PM on February 4

Destroyer: The Sublimation Hour ("There's a rumor going round/even Destroyers have a price")
posted by 2or3things at 2:40 PM on February 4

The Beasties' "No Sleep 'Til Brooklyn" namechecks the band members, and "Fight for your Right (To Party)" namechecks the band as a whole. Not sure if that's too hip-hop-inspired for your interest, though.
posted by Alterscape at 2:50 PM on February 4

Tenacious D - Wonderboy
posted by metaname at 2:56 PM on February 4

Communication Breakdown, Led Zeppelin
posted by jamaro at 2:58 PM on February 4

Kinda sorta: John Lennon's God includes the line "I don't believe in Beatles."
Also kinda sorta: Lennon's Ballad of John and Yoko.
Old school: Blossom Dearie's Blossom's Blues ("My name is Blossom, I was born in a lion's den / My nightly occupation is stealing other women's men").
Older school: Roy Eldridge and Anita O'Day singing Let Me Off Uptown. (They call each other by their names in the song).
posted by yoink at 2:59 PM on February 4

Bo Diddley made a career of this, with many self-referential album titles, songs, and singles including: 'Bo Diddley', 'Hey! Bo Diddley', 'Bo Diddley Is Crazy'
posted by wilko at 3:04 PM on February 4 [1 favorite]

"In a Big Country" by Big Country.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 3:06 PM on February 4 [1 favorite]

Some more good ones here.

Kicking myself for not getting The Monkees and The Pet Shop Boys and Arctic Monkeys.
posted by mochapickle at 3:06 PM on February 4

In the cover of "Bring the Noise" by Anthrax (performed with Public Enemy), members of Anthrax have the line "Wax is for Anthrax".
posted by five toed sloth at 3:07 PM on February 4

Bad Religion, No Direction. "No Bad Religion song can make your life complete".
posted by wintrymix at 3:08 PM on February 4 [1 favorite]

Oh, going really old school there is, of course, Bach's use of the "BACH-motif."
posted by yoink at 3:19 PM on February 4 [3 favorites]

Joe Christmas is a little-known indie band from 15 years ago. Their song "Coupleskate" references the band. The first chorus says "Night Ranger playing in the stereo" and the second one says "Joe Christmas playing in the stereo."
posted by tacodave at 3:31 PM on February 4

"Down" by 311.

"Great Big Sea" by Great Big Sea (also, some versions of their song "Lukey" incorporate the self-referential lyric from the eponymous song).

I could swear that in the background of one song by The Clintons, there's a repeated vocal that says, "What's the name of this band? The Clintons band. What's the name of this band? The Clintons..." -- but I find no evidence of this on the lyrics posted on their website. I'll have to listen to my collection a bit to figure it out.
posted by tckma at 3:32 PM on February 4

The very last line of "King of Spain" by Moxy Früvous.
posted by tckma at 3:35 PM on February 4

Q:Are we not men? A:We are DEVO!
posted by contraption at 3:38 PM on February 4

This was a major part of the KLF's appeal, in all their incarnations ('They're Justified, and they're Ancient, And they drive an ice cream van.')
posted by srednivashtar at 3:50 PM on February 4

argh. correct Jocko Homo link
posted by contraption at 3:57 PM on February 4

Gal Costa - Meu Nome é Gal (My Name is Gal). Gal goes well beyond a self-reference with a spoken profile of herself, her likes, and list of her friends.
Fiery Furnaces - Oh Sweet Woods ("You got the wrong Eleanor Friedberger.")
The Rave-Ups - Rave Up/Shut Up (featured in Pretty in Pink)
The Feelies - Crazy Rhythms ("Crazy Feelies")
Minutemen – One Reporters Opinion (Sung by D. Boon, written by Mike Watt)
Minutemen - History Lesson - Part II
posted by hydrophonic at 4:23 PM on February 4

Jonzun Crew - We are the Jonzun Crew
Mekons - Sympathy for the Mekons
posted by hydrophonic at 4:31 PM on February 4

Beastie Boys - Intergalactic (pretty sure that made the top 40 in my country at least)
posted by trialex at 4:37 PM on February 4

The Pipettes - We Are The Pipettes
Anti-Nowhere League - We Are The League
posted by hydrophonic at 4:41 PM on February 4

Hollywood Swinging by Kool & The Gang
posted by fox problems at 4:46 PM on February 4

Soldier - Destiny's Child
posted by Youremyworld at 5:03 PM on February 4

Wham! Rap (Enjoy What You Do) - Wham!
Strokin' - Clarence Carter
Creeque Alley - The Mamas and the Papas
posted by SisterHavana at 6:17 PM on February 4

Also Set Adrift On Memory Bliss - PM Dawn
New Kids On The Block - New Kids On The Block (link goes to lyrics)
Song For A Future Generation - B-52s
posted by SisterHavana at 6:31 PM on February 4

It would be better in this context if they'd recorded a version of "Like A Rolling Stone" but didja know the flip side of their first single was Stoned?
posted by Rash at 11:11 PM on February 4

Also, Tighten Up
posted by Rash at 11:14 PM on February 4 [1 favorite]

Book of Love - We Three Kings ("Book of Love sends season's greetings")
posted by otherchaz at 11:38 PM on February 4

Marina & the Diamonds - Hollywood
posted by salmacis at 3:21 AM on February 5

We're the Genders by The Genders. Israeli Ramones style hard rock in English. Awesome.
posted by kuppajava at 6:43 AM on February 5

Rash: "It would be better in this context if they'd recorded a version of "Like A Rolling Stone" but didja know the flip side of their first single was Stoned?"

Actually, the Rolling Stones did record a version of that song.
posted by SisterHavana at 8:05 PM on February 5

Sister Nancy - Transport Connection, Ain't No Stopping Sister Nancy
Jorge Ben - George Well, which is a poor translation of his name into English.
The Monks - Monk Time
Jens Lekman - A Postcard To Nina
posted by hydrophonic at 8:36 PM on February 5

My Name is Prince
posted by hydrophonic at 8:50 PM on February 5

My name is Prince? Naw, My Name is Kiiiiiiiiiiiiiid Rock!
posted by mcstayinskool at 6:53 AM on February 6

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