Songs that are about a song of the same name
April 19, 2021 11:42 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for songs that are about songs of the same name (which may or may not be the same song.) For example, Monster Mash is about a band playing the Monster Mash, which from context is probably not the same song you're listening to. I'm positive I've heard other songs that do something similar, but I can't remember any of them. Help!
posted by LSK to Media & Arts (66 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
Best answer: The Crocodile Rock, maybe? It's talking about a dance, but I feel like it's implied that there's a song that goes along with it.
posted by missrachael at 11:45 AM on April 19 [6 favorites]


The Tennessee Waltz!
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 11:48 AM on April 19 [9 favorites]


'Tribute' by Tenacious D
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 11:49 AM on April 19 [18 favorites]


And the band played Waltzing Matilda, covered by The Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem, the Dubliners, Judy Collins, and probably others.
posted by Melismata at 11:49 AM on April 19 [6 favorites]


Eric Bogle (and others) - The Band Played 'Waltzing Matilda'
posted by Rash at 11:50 AM on April 19 [2 favorites]


Not sure if it counts, but The Wombats - "Let's Dance to Joy Division" - is about the band Joy Division
posted by DoubleLune at 11:51 AM on April 19


Related TVTropes:
This Is A Song
Self Demonstrating Song
posted by zamboni at 11:54 AM on April 19 [2 favorites]


From Mental Floss, 12 Songs that mention other songs or artists,
Johnny Rivers - Summer Rain
...the jukebox kept on playin'
Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band
posted by Rash at 11:57 AM on April 19 [2 favorites]


Best answer: Margaret's Waltz — Connie Kaldor. The tune is loosely based on the traditional folk tune of the same name.
posted by Johnny Assay at 11:59 AM on April 19 [1 favorite]


Best answer: I hate to say it, but "Hallelujah" ("the baffled king composing 'Hallelujah'").
posted by praemunire at 12:00 PM on April 19 [9 favorites]


Best answer: Horrendous Disc by Daniel Amos is on a record called Horrendous Disc but appears to be about a different record, the Horrendous Disc, on which all your worst private sins are pressed.

Later on they recorded an album called Kalhoun. The title track is the story of a magic word that has become—among other things—a song people sing, which is not this song.
posted by Polycarp at 12:01 PM on April 19 [2 favorites]


Josh Ritter - The Appleblossom Rag
posted by Redstart at 12:02 PM on April 19 [2 favorites]


Alice's Restaurant:
This song is called Alice's Restaurant, and it's about Alice, and the Restaurant, but Alice's Restaurant is not the name of the restaurant, That's just the name of the song, and that's why I called the song Alice's Restaurant.
posted by thecaddy at 12:03 PM on April 19 [11 favorites]


Rock and Roll Lullaby

And she'd sing sha na na na na na na na na
It'll be all right
Sha na na na na na na na na na
Just hold on tight
Sing it to me mama, mama mama mama
Sing it sweet and clear
Oh, mama let me hear that old rock and roll lullaby
posted by FencingGal at 12:07 PM on April 19


Also TVTropes: Dance Sensation

Blues Traveler's "Hook" is about the hook of the song, and also a meditation on hooks in general.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 12:07 PM on April 19 [3 favorites]


And another song about a lullaby: Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ral (Thats An Irish Lullaby)
posted by FencingGal at 12:08 PM on April 19


The Black Keys play "Tighten Up" but it's not the famous Tighten Up.

"Ignition (Remix)" tells us explicitly that we're listening to the remix to the song Ignition, but there is no such song.
posted by aka burlap at 12:10 PM on April 19 [4 favorites]


Terry Fell's Truck Drivin' Man:
I stopped at a roadhouse in Texas
A little place called Hamburger Dan
I heard that old jukebox a-playin'
A song called "The Truck Drivin' Man"
posted by offog at 12:11 PM on April 19 [1 favorite]


Axis of Awesome - 4 Chord Song
posted by Nanukthedog at 12:13 PM on April 19


The Song That Doesn't End (or "The Song That Never Ends")
posted by likedoomsday at 12:14 PM on April 19


There's a verse from an early Billy Joel song, "The Entertainer," that may suit -
I am the entertainer
I come to do my show
You heard my latest record
It's been on the radio
Ah, it took me years to write it
They were the best years of my life
It was a beautiful song
But it ran too long
If you're gonna have a hit
You gotta make it fit
So they cut it down to 3:05
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:15 PM on April 19 [1 favorite]


Your Song by Elton John.
posted by tomboko at 12:17 PM on April 19 [3 favorites]


Three Dog Night - Old Fashioned Love Song
Just an old-fashioned love song playin' on the radio
And wrapped around the music is the sound
Of someone promising they'll never go
You swear you've heard it before
As it slowly rambles on and on
No need in bringin' `em back,
`Cause they're never really gone

Just an old-fashioned love song
One I'm sure they wrote for you and me
Just an old-fashioned love song
Comin' down in 3-part harmony
posted by Rhaomi at 12:19 PM on April 19 [5 favorites]


Like Crocodile Rock and the Monster Mash, it's a song about a dance: The Varsity Drag.
posted by Rash at 12:24 PM on April 19


Going even further in the meta direction than Blues Traveler's "Hook" is "Title of The Song" by Da Vinci's Notebook.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 12:25 PM on April 19 [1 favorite]


"'Ignition (Remix)' tells us explicitly that we're listening to the remix to the song 'Ignition', but there is no such song."

That's not true. It's another track on R. Kelly's Chocolate Factory album. The lyrics to the remix were written before the original "Ignition", though.
posted by kevinbelt at 12:26 PM on April 19 [1 favorite]


Oh, the Mountain Goats' version of "The Sign" varies constantly, but it's actually a song about the Ace of Base song "The Sign," with a performance of "The Sign" embedded.
posted by praemunire at 12:26 PM on April 19 [3 favorites]


I kind of feel like Werewolf Bar Mitzvah is this? Like, he's definitely talking about writing the song during the song (in the later verses), so in that sense it's about itself.
posted by goodbyewaffles at 12:27 PM on April 19 [1 favorite]


Another meta take on this is Happy With What You Have to Be Happy With by King Crimson.
posted by forbiddencabinet at 12:27 PM on April 19


Cotton Mill Blues as performed by Anne Price:
It's card room, spinning room, winding room, weave room
Lint all over my shoes
When I get over to the other shore
Gonna sing about the cotton mill blues
posted by offog at 12:31 PM on April 19


Best answer: The first lines of Jimmy Eats World's "Authority Song" are about playing John Mellencamp's song of the same name on the jukebox.
posted by AgentRocket at 12:31 PM on April 19 [1 favorite]


I don't know the title of the song in "Who put the bomp?" by Barry Mann but feels like it deserves a mention here:

I'd like to thank the guy
Who wrote the song
That made my baby
Fall in love with me
Who put the bomp in the bomp bah bomp bah bomp
Who put the ram in the rama lama ding dong
Who put the bop in the bop shoo bop shoo bop
Who put the dip in the dip da dip da dip
Who was that man
I'd like to shake his hand
He made my baby fall in love with me (yeah)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:37 PM on April 19 [2 favorites]


Best answer: Oh I love this! My favorite example is “Let There Be Rock” by the Drive-by Truckers. I never saw Lynyrd Skynyrd / but I sure saw AC/DC..
posted by elephantsvanish at 12:39 PM on April 19 [4 favorites]


The Magnetic Fields: 'I Think I Need a New Heart'

Time stands still
All I can feel is the time standing still
As you put down the keys
And say, "Don't call me, please"
While the radio plays

"I Think I Need a New Heart", oh
"I Think I Need a New Heart", oh

posted by Pink Frost at 1:08 PM on April 19 [3 favorites]


Weird Al Yankovic's Achy Breaky Song.


Don't play that song
That Achy Breaky song
The most annoying song I know...

posted by wanderingmind at 1:17 PM on April 19 [4 favorites]


Cole Porter’s Begin the Beguine does this, kinda. Here is Ella Fitzgerald singing it.

Also, maybe not meta enough, but: there are a lot of ’60s soul & funk songs that include instructions on how to dance the eponymous dance or a list of places where it’s being danced or both. E.G., Eldridge Holmes, Pop, Popcorn Children, and tons of Rufus Thomas (I especially like Funky Robot because Funky Robot but also because it so unconvincingly tries to make the case that it’s better than other previous dance instruction type songs by Rufus Thomas himself: the Push and Pull, the Breakdown, the Funky Penguin, etc.).
posted by miles per flower at 1:17 PM on April 19


Not quite the same but there's a Phish song called Backwards Down The Number Line. It's about a birthday tradition between Trey Anastasio and his friend/lyricist Tom Marshall of writing songs for each other and "the only rule is it begins 'happy happy oh my friend'" and, of course, the song begins with that line. So it's kind of a recursive song in a sense.
posted by bondcliff at 1:18 PM on April 19


“If You’re Gonna Play in Texas (You Gotta Have a Fiddle in the Band)”

(Edit: just realized that the album version has a reprise of the melody from a pretty racist song in the beginning. I think I’ve only heard the single version. Sigh. Maybe don’t Google/YouTube it and give them the eyeballs, at this point).
posted by Alterscape at 1:28 PM on April 19


Vine Street by Harry Nilson is pretty close.

In the song, it's a street, a song, and the self-referenced song.
No idea if it's true, but per a youtube comment "Yeah, each artist that covers this song uses a snippet of an unrelated recording they made previously. The first line of the song “that’s a take, that we made, but I’m sad to say it never made the grade” is a reference to that recording"
posted by The_Vegetables at 1:32 PM on April 19


My favorite example is “Let There Be Rock” by the Drive-by Truckers.

AARGH how could I have overlooked this one. I had been thinking about mentioning "Ronnie and Neil", the DBT song that's about how Ronnie Van Zant and Neil Young became friends after the release of "Sweet Home Alabama", but that didn't fit the asker's original request.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 1:40 PM on April 19 [2 favorites]


(Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song is not exactly this, more of a self-referential title.
posted by adamrice at 2:05 PM on April 19 [1 favorite]


Tom Letter - The Wiener schnitzel waltz
posted by crocomancer at 2:16 PM on April 19


Nada Surf's Blonde on Blonde is about the Bob Dylan album Blonde on Blonde.
posted by soelo at 2:23 PM on April 19 [2 favorites]


My name is Yon Yonson,
I live in Wisconsin.
I work in a lumber yard there.
The people I meet
As I walk down the street,
They say, "Hello there!"
I say, "Hello there!"
They say, "What's your name?"
I say: My name is Yon Yonson...
posted by gregoreo at 2:26 PM on April 19 [1 favorite]




Jailhouse Rock:

The warden threw a party in the county jail
The prison band was there and they began to wail
The band was jumpin' and the joint began to swing
You should've heard them knocked out jailbirds sing
Let's rock, everybody, let's rock
Everybody in the whole cell block
Was dancin' to the Jailhouse Rock
posted by to recite so charmingly at 3:11 PM on April 19 [3 favorites]


Oh! And Ballroom Blitz!
posted by to recite so charmingly at 3:12 PM on April 19 [1 favorite]


The SpongeBob Squarepants Campfire Song Song
posted by sjswitzer at 3:35 PM on April 19


Best answer: Country artist Rodney Crowell was the former son-in-law of Johnny Cash when he wrote "I Walk the Line (Revisited)" about his own early encounter with Cash's classic song, and includes Johnny singing the chorus of "I Walk the Line" to Crowell's melody, not Cash's original.
posted by Sunburnt at 3:36 PM on April 19


I would also add Robbie Fulks (and band)'s affectionate tribute to the best power pop band of our time, Fountains of Wayne, called "Fountains of Wayne Hotline," in which the singer of the song encounters a few problems songwriting, and calls this hypothetical hotline for a band that can fix any song in any style, gets advice, and the advice is exhibited in the next segment. It's a song about the writing of itself, while gently mocking Fountains of Wayne out of what Fulks has always said is a tribute to their talent. Does that qualify?
posted by Sunburnt at 3:48 PM on April 19


They Might Be Giants’ “Number Three” (the third song, natch, on their first album) is about a song which might or might not be itself, and might or might not be called “Number Three.”
posted by sesquipedalia at 5:21 PM on April 19




Life Is a Rock (But the Radio Rolled Me) performed by Reunion?

"Song references include Elvis Presley's "Wear My Ring Around Your Neck," the Eagles' "Take It Easy," Sly & the Family Stone's "I Want To Take You Higher," The Castaways' "Liar, Liar," Little Eva's "The Loco-Motion," The Rolling Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," Wanda Jackson's "Fujiyama," The Edsels' "Rama Lama Ding Dong," Little Anthony & The Imperials' "Shimmy, Shimmy, Ko-Ko-Bop," Hank Ballard's "Finger Poppin' Time," The Monkees' "Mary, Mary," The Rolling Stones' "Gimme Shelter," Frankie Avalon's "DeDe Dinah," Ma Rainey's "CC Rider" (a hit for The Animals in the '60s), Stephen Foster's "Camptown Races," The Beach Boys' "Good Vibrations," "Help Me, Rhonda," "Surfer Girl" and "Little Honda," Alive N Kickin's "Tighter, Tighter," ABBA's "Honey, Honey," The Archies' "Sugar, Sugar," Ohio Express' "Yummy Yummy Yummy," The Shangri-Las' "Remember (Walking in the Sand)," Les Cooper's "The Boston Monkey," The Four Tops' "Baby I Need Your Loving," Stevie Wonder's "Uptight (Everything's Alright)," and Three Dog Night's "Celebrate.""
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:01 PM on April 19


Tom, he was a piper's son,
He learnt to play when he was young,
And all the tune that he could play
Was 'over the hills and far away'
posted by clew at 8:00 PM on April 19


Dan Fogelberg, “Same Old Lang Syne”
posted by MonkeyToes at 8:27 PM on April 19 [1 favorite]


I feel that songs about dances are cheating. But if you are going to throw them in, then we need to include the Time Warp and the Masochism Tango.
posted by How much is that froggie in the window at 8:46 PM on April 19 [1 favorite]




Best answer: One Direction's Best Song Ever
posted by Samarium at 2:17 AM on April 20


Show Stopping Number from The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals.
posted by catquas at 10:56 AM on April 20


"The band was jumpin' and the joint began to swing"

I always thought that was "The joint was jumpin' Attica began to swing.

Could just be me though...
posted by Billiken at 12:26 PM on April 20


The Number One Song in Heaven by Sparks
posted by grateful at 1:37 PM on April 20


Scritti Politti's Wood Beez (Pray Like Aretha Franklin)
posted by bluedora at 1:50 PM on April 20


Best answer: Judy and the Dream of Horses by Belle and Sebastian
posted by rd45 at 2:24 PM on April 20


Rilo Kiley's "It's a hit" might be a variation on this:

"Any idiot can play greek for a day
And join a sorority or write a tragedy;
And articulate all that pain,
And maybe you'll get paid.
But it's a sin when success complains,
And your writers block- it don't mean shit.
Just throw it against the wall and see what sticks.
Gotta write a hit - i think this is it.
It's a hit."
posted by dizziest at 3:31 PM on April 20 [1 favorite]


Danny Brown, "Radio Song". The verses are NSFW. The chorus:
So they say you need a hit, a chart-topping single
That's why it's called commercial, because you need a jingle
A smash club banger, play it all night long
You never get on without a radio song
So this my radio song
This my radio song
posted by valrus at 9:43 PM on May 2


Lambchop did an eighteen minute song on their 2016 release FLOTUS called The Hustle, a reference to the '70s hit of the same name.

It was talk of love in Tennessee
Of the beauty of the seventies
And the handsome people on the graveled road
We were out there in the fine place
And I turned my head out to the crowd
You could almost sense their glory
And if you took just a few more steps
You could join them in the hustle
Do the hustle, do the hustle
Do the hustle, do the hustle

(Here's another, shorter, live version of the song.)
posted by MrVisible at 11:00 AM on May 3


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