And it was Joni singing help me I think I’m falling

Here’s a music thread topic I’ve been thinking about for a while: songs that reference other songs. It seems extremely common in hip-hop, less common in other popular music. I wonder if it used to be more common in non hip-hop popular music, I always think of the Stones naming an album Let It Bleed not long after the Beatles’ Let It Be.

What are your favorite references to songs within other songs? I always like the “if you hear any noise…” in Ladies’ Night, the bit from Prince’s “Ballad of Dorothy Parker” that’s the title for this post, and all the stuff in Shoop (“wicked, wicked” etc.).

I suppose the “I hope Neil Young will remember” in Sweet Home Alabama is the most famous.

Also, why do you think it is so much more common to do this in hip-hop?

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221 replies
  1. 1
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Roy Orbison singin’ for the lonely
    Hey, that’s me and I want you only

  2. 2
  3. 3
    ruviana says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Damn! First one I thought of! And I’m glad it started the thread.

  4. 4
    dubo says:

    “I suppose the “I hope Neil Young will remember” in Sweet Home Alabama is the most famous.”

    And not, “nearly every line in American Pie”? ;)

  5. 5
    Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937 says:

    Bruce Cockburn – Last Night Of The World

    I’m sipping Flor De Caa* and lime juice, it’s three a.m.
    Blow a fruit fly off the rim of my glass
    The radio’s playing Superchunk and the friends of Dean Martinez
    Midnight it was bike tires whacking the pot holes
    Milling humans’ shivering energy glow

  6. 6
    gratuitous says:

    What do these three songs have in common:

    Ashes to Ashes by David Bowie
    Elected by Alice Cooper
    Sequel by Harry Chapin

    Not only do all three reference other songs, they reference another song by the same artist. Space Oddity for Bowie, School’s Out for Cooper, and Taxi for Chapin.

  7. 7
    Brian R. says:

    Hiphop is all about sampling, so shout outs make sense.

  8. 8
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    I think there are two aspects of it regarding why Hip Hop does it as much.

    1) The way hip hop started, tracks would probably start as much as a response to someone else, either affirmatively or confrontationally, as it would as a stand alone thing. Especially when you got battle raps with one artist outright calling the other out using their own lines or motifs.

    2) Many hip hop artists wear their influences on their sleeves, so they’re not shy about name dropping their particular muse for that day/track/album/etc.

  9. 9
  10. 10
    Seonachan says:

    The Replacements’ “Alex Chilton”? Not sure if it references any particular song(s) as I’ve never listened to Chilton. In a related vein, there a Phil Ochs song called “The Doll House” in which he mimics Dylan’s singing voice on one refrain.

  11. 11
    srv says:

    How do you sleep, dougJ? IDK, but it’s morning in America here and you are a dedicated swallower of fascism.

    I need some coffee and American Pie.

  12. 12
    dedc79 says:

    Every Hold Steady song, but this one in particular

  13. 13
    Brian says:

    Let It Bleed-1969; Let It Be-1970.

  14. 14

    Weezer’s Heart Songs is just a list of songs/artists that influenced Rivers Cuomo.

    Eta songs/artists are used in hip hop to fill in rhyming couplets. Gives many options.

  15. 15
    Randy P says:

    All I can come up with is “American Pie” (yeah I’m that old) which people told me was about the deaths of the Big Bopper, Ritchie Valens and Buddy Holly. But frankly at the time the song came out I had no idea what the hell it was about. I’ve never been good at understanding poetry.

  16. 16
    another lurker says:

    Was it a millionaire who said, “imagine no possessions”?

  17. 17
    SinnedBackwards says:

    Golden Earring’s “Radar Love” referencing Brenda Lee’s “Coming on Strong”

  18. 18
    nwerner says:

    Highway Patrolman by Bruce Springsteen references “Night of the Johnstown Flood” which is a song of uncertain origins
    Don Henley’s Boys of Summer tangentially references with ‘Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac”
    -which The Ataris reprised with ‘Black Flag sticker on a Cadillac”

  19. 19
    RSA says:

    I suppose the “I hope Neil Young will remember” in Sweet Home Alabama is the most famous.

    “The walrus was Paul” would be a contender, I think.

  20. 20
    dubo says:

    It’s also interesting how rock/pop artists/performers seem to “own” songs a lot more than they used to… it seems like every Elvis song was someone else’s song that he was doing a cover of, not to mention every band on the planet doing their own cover of “Louie Louie.”

    I wonder what (besides the relentless march of capitalism) caused the trend towards singer-songwriters (or at least, singers locking down songs someone else wrote for them) as opposed to the songs and performers being largely independant?

  21. 21
    boatboy_srq says:

    Scissor Sisters’ “I Don’t Feel Like Dancin'” – references Kool ‘n’ The Gang’s “Joanna”

    … so it still goes on, and still goes on in pop music.

  22. 22
    raven says:

    The Bucketheads_ The Bomb sampled Street Player by Chicago (co-written by my high school friend, Dave Wolinski!)

  23. 23
    cleek says:

    Elliott Smith’s “Waltz #2” ref’s 2:

    First the mic, then a half cigarette
    Singing “Cathy’s Clown”

    Here it is, the revenge to the tune
    “You’re no good, you’re no good, you’re no good, you’re no good”

    and “American Pie” is full of them, obvs.

    Eddie Money, “Take Me Home Tonight” has that shout-out to “Ronnie” (who then sings what she’s shouted-out about). it’s very meta. you might not understand.

  24. 24
    James Gary says:

    I’ve always loved the little bit of the Beach Boys’ “Caroline, No” that is embedded in Neil Young’s “Long May You Run.”

  25. 25
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Brian R.:

    My thought exactly.

  26. 26
    FVB says:

    I want “Caravan” with a drum solo – FZ 1967

  27. 27
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Does “Roll over Beethoven” count? Then hat tip to Chuck Berry…

  28. 28
    Steve Finlay says:

    @Cassidy: The Pogues (among others) sang it, but Eric Bogle wrote it.

  29. 29
    john b says:

    obligatory Built to Spill “You Were Right”. The whole song is referencing other classic song lyrics.

  30. 30
    Randy P says:

    I guess a song referencing itself doesn’t count. I can think of a few of those. You’re So Vain (Carly Simon), Silly Love Songs (Paul McCartney), Your Song (Elton John).

    And slightly less creaky, the generic boy band song Title of This Song (Da Vinci’s Notebook)

  31. 31
    another lurker says:

    Between Hank Williams’ pain songs and Newberry’s train songs and Blue Eyes Cryin’ in the Rain, Out in Luckenbach, Texas ain’t nobody feelin’ no pain.

  32. 32
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @cleek:

    She shows up in the video singing the “Be my little baby” part….

  33. 33
    PeorgieTirebiter says:

    me and my mate were back at the shack we had Spike Jones on the box
    she said, I cain’t take the way he sings but I love to hear him talk…

  34. 34
    The Dangerman says:

    First American Pie reference wins the thread; the whole song is references (and some of them are kinda brilliant, though I’ve never gotten the refrain about “the levy” other than it rhymes with “Chevy” which appears less than inspired).

    ETA: Given my background, I’ll toss out Def Leppard’s “Rocket Man”, which is a long series of references, too.

  35. 35
    srv says:

    So Sgt. Pepper took you by surprise
    You better see right through that mother’s eyes
    Those freaks was right when they said you was dead
    The one mistake you made was in your head

    How do you sleep?
    How do you sleep at night?

    You live with straights who tell you, you was king
    Jump when your momma tell you anything
    The only thing you done was yesterday
    And since you’ve gone you’re just another day

    How do you sleep?
    How do you sleep at night?

    How do you sleep?
    How do you sleep at night?

    A pretty face may last a year or two
    But pretty soon they’ll see what you can do
    The sound you make is muzak to my ears
    You must have learned something in all those years

    How do you sleep?
    How do you sleep at night?

    Better than you, John.

  36. 36
    cleek says:

    and if we can count a reference to a whole album, Elliott Smith also has two in “Baby Britain”:

    The light was on but it was dim
    Revolver’s been turned over
    And now it’s ready once again
    The radio was playing “Crimson and Clover”

  37. 37
    Tommy says:

    I like to think I am a pretty “smart” music guy and I can’t think of a single song that references another song. I am sure there are some that do, I just don’t know what they are.

  38. 38
    Roger That says:

    Who’s Perry Como? Tomorrow, Tomorrow!
    and I’d like to think that Johnny played the Grateful Dead version of “Fire on the Mountain” (complete with space > drums > space) instead of a hillbilly medley with House of the Rising Sun.

  39. 39
    cleek says:

    @The Dangerman:

    First American Pie reference wins the thread;

    i win!

  40. 40
    daveNYC says:

    OK Go’s ‘A Good Idea At the Time’.

  41. 41
    John (not McCain) says:

    I like the last two lines of DBT’s 3 Dimes Down:

    Come back baby
    Rock and roll never forgets.

  42. 42
    James Gary says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Does “Roll over Beethoven” count? Then hat tip to Chuck Berry…

    …and Ludwig Van himself–if one wants to also include the 1973 E.L.O. version that starts off with the famous first notes of the Fifth Symphony.

  43. 43

    A praise chorus by Jimmy Eats World checks Crimson and Clover, Don’t let’s Start by They Might Be Giants and others.

  44. 44
    PeorgieTirebiter says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: I read a great anecdote somewhere about Eddie having to borrow money to pay for a limo to pick her up at the airport for the session. He thought it would be disrespectful to expect her to ride in his car.

  45. 45
    NotMax says:

    Hinder – “Put That Record On

  46. 46
    barry says:

    Rounding third and headin’ for home, a brown eyed handsome man — Fogerty referencing Chuck

    The summer’s here and time is rght for racing in the street — springsteen referencing Martha and the Vandellas

    Who wears short shorts — Flying Purple Eater by Sheb Wooley referencing the Royal Teens

    don’t step on my blue suede shoes — Cat Mother and the All Night Newsboys (produced by Jimi Hendrix) referencing Carl Perkins

    Not a song reference, but “Sultans of Swing” was the name of Alan Freed’s band

  47. 47
    dubo says:

    @cleek:

    Yo cleek, I love you and I’ma let you finish, but…

    @dubo:

    ; D

  48. 48
    Brian R. says:

    @another lurker:

    Yeah, country might do it as much as hiphop. “Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way?” is a classic example.

  49. 49
    Jim Parish says:

    Johnny Rivers, Summer Rain: “And the jukebox kept on playin’ / Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”

  50. 50
    john b says:

    and the lyrics to Built to Spill “You Were Right” for those unfamiliar:

    You were wrong when you said everything’s gonna be alright …

    You were right when you said all that glitters isn’t gold
    You were right when you said all we are is dust in the wind
    You were right when you said we’re all just bricks in the wall
    And when you said manic depression’s a frustrated mess

    ….

    You were right when you said you can’t always get what you want
    You were right when you said it’s a hard rain’s gonna fall
    You were right when you said were still running against the wind
    Life goes on long after the thrill of living is gone
    You were right when you said this is the end

  51. 51
    cleek says:

    Hank Jr’s “All My Rowdy Friends” (which Elliott Smith also covered :) ) refs a bunch of his father’s songs.

  52. 52
    cleek says:

    @dubo:
    rats!

    i even searched for it before posting my thing.

  53. 53
    raven says:

    Bob Wills is Still the King,

  54. 54
    raven says:

    Big hockey game comin right atcha!

  55. 55
    CaptainBringdown says:

    “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes” by George Jones references probably a dozen (or more) others songs and artists.

  56. 56
    Yet another lurker says:

    The Replacements’ “I Will Dare” was a response to U2’s “I Will Follow”

  57. 57
    Redshift says:

    Zevon’s “Country Living” references “Sweet Home Alabama” (in an awesome way, of course.)

  58. 58
    Randy P says:

    @James Gary: If we want to talk instrumental references and get out of popular music, there’s plenty. In Carnival of the Animals, the “Fossils” piece is full of quotes from songs Saint Saens felt were old and tired. And there’s a long tradition of quoting other music in classical music.

    Emerson, Lake and Palmer played a big section of Bartok’s Allegro Barbaro in one song.

  59. 59
    Jim Parish says:

    And, of course, the Righteous Brothers’ “Rock and Roll Heaven” references a number of songs: “Mack the Knife”, “Bad Bad Leroy Brown”, “Piece of My Heart”, “Dock of the Bay”, “Foxey Lady”, and “Light My Fire”.

  60. 60
    Ripley (Whiskey Fire version) says:

    Listen To the Flower People by Spinal Tap. “Listen, it’s like a Mozart symphony…”

  61. 61
    Tokyokie says:

    After Fleetwood Mac put out Rumours, the cheeky sods in Grahama Parker’s backup band, The Rumour, put out an album entitled Max.

  62. 62
    Liliane says:

    Gaslight Anthem, “High Lonesome” (Round Here by Counting Crows)
    Regina Spektor, “On the Radio” (November Rain)

  63. 63
  64. 64
    John M says:

    Bob Dylan in Sarah “staying up all night in the Chelsea Hotel writing Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands for You”

  65. 65
    raven says:

    GOAALLLL!!!!

  66. 66
    low-tech cyclist says:

    Beatles, “Yer Blues”: I feel so suicidal, just like Dylan’s Mr. Jones

    And while Wikipedia says Counting Crows’ “Mr. Jones” doesn’t refer to the Dylan character, I’m not buying it.

  67. 67
    john b says:

    Destroyer references other songs in his songs all the time. Some albums are chock full of references to both classic songs and his own earlier songs and characters from earlier songs.

  68. 68
    HL_guy says:

    Well, if referencing other singers/groups counts, “Air Crash Museum” by the Dead Milkmen has got a bunch…

    …We’re gonna stuff ’em
    Put ’em on display
    ‘Tween Patsy Cline
    Buddy Holly

    We’ll have our own
    Air crash museum
    People lined for miles
    Just to see ’em

    Jim Croce’s in the corner
    The Big Bopper’s by the stairs
    Ricky Nelson’s in the kitchen
    But nobody cares

  69. 69
    Tom Traubert says:

    Now me and my mate were back at the shack, we had Spike Jones on the box
    She said, “I can’t take the way he sings, but I love to hear him talk”

  70. 70
    cleek says:

    @barry:

    Not a song reference, but “Sultans of Swing” was the name of Alan Freed’s band

    in a similar vein, something i just learned this week…

    in the Pretender’s “Precious”, just before she lets out the famous “fuck off!” she spits out a line that i never understood. but i looked it up, and she says:

    Now Howard The Duck and Mr Stress both stayed
    Trapped in a world that they never made
    But not me baby, I’m too precious
    I had to fuck off

    Mr Stress was the leader of a local blues band in Cleveland in the 70s. and “Howard The Duck” was a ref to the comic (not the movie which hadn’t been made yet).

  71. 71
    low-tech cyclist says:

    Tom Petty, “Runnin’ Down A Dream”: me and Del were singin’ little Runaway,I was flyin’

    And on a similar note, Golden Earring’s “Radar Love”:
    The radio’s playing some forgotten song
    Brenda Lee’s “Coming On Strong”

  72. 72
    Napoleon says:

    @Brian:

    Let It Bleed-1969; Let It Be-1970

    Yeah, but Let it Be was recorded right at the beginning of 69 and held in the can (though it may not have been named that until later). The Stones and Beatles were well aware of what each other were up to since they were friends. That said, I think the evidence leans in the direction that the Stones were not playing off the Beatles album.

  73. 73
    reality-based says:

    @Cassidy:

    far and away the best version of this song is liam clancy’s – makes me cry every time –

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFCekeoSTwg

  74. 74
    worn says:

    Amazing Grace (Used To Be Her Favorite Song) by The Amazing Rhythm Aces

  75. 75
    john b says:

    Yo La Tengo, “Let’s Save Tony Orlando’s House”

    We proudly welcome Tony Orlando
    The state fair marquee reads
    Inside a thousand people with yellow ribbons sing
    And clap on one and three

    Watch him burn, he’s dropping to his knees
    Watch him burn, a medley, hits from Grease
    Watch him burn, he never fails to please

    Meanwhile in Tahoe outside Casa Tony
    Wetting rags in gasoline
    A jealous Frankie Valli says “Dawn, I want you back”
    Lights a match and counts to three

    Watch it burn, reluctantly he leaves
    Watch it burn, acrid smoke making him wheeze
    Watch it burn, humming “Sherry,” splits the scene

    Watch it burn, reluctantly he leaves
    Watch it burn, acrid smoke making him wheeze
    Watch it burn, humming “Sherry,” splits the scene

    We’re sorry to inform you
    Tony Orlando has been postponed

  76. 76
    worn says:

    Play ‘Together Again’ Again by Buck Owens

  77. 77
    Mark says:

    I can think of several other songs that reference other songs, but I’m surprised no one else mentioned that “Help Me” itself:

    “You dance with the lady
    With the hole in her stocking
    Didn’t it feel good?”

    references another song, “Buffalo Gals.”

  78. 78
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @cleek:

    Howard the Duck the comic was awesome.

    Howard the Duck the movie (despite having Lea Thompson in it) not so much.

  79. 79
    charles pierce says:

    “I’m gazing out the window/of the St. James Hotel/And I know no one can sing the blues/Like Blind Willie McTell.”

    Best song he ever did.

  80. 80
    catclub says:

    @dubo: “I wonder what (besides the relentless march of capitalism) caused the trend towards singer-songwriters (or at least, singers locking down songs someone else wrote for them) as opposed to the songs and performers being largely independant? ”

    Dean Baker doesn’t. He knows the answer. Longer copyright terms.

  81. 81
    Fuzzy says:

    @another lurker: You win. Most of this crew has no time for a drawl.

  82. 82
    SatanicPanic says:

    Dead Presidents by Jay Z. And Takeover, where he responds to Nas calling him out for using Nas’ line as the chorus in that song.

    Or 300 Bars and Runnin’ by Game, which mashes together like 20 different songs.

    Hip hop is more based on collaboration and rivalry, so there’s more referencing both positive and negative. Diss tracks could be considered references.

  83. 83
    cleek says:

    and one of my favorites… Robyn Hitchcock’s “Listening To The Higsons” which has this bit:

    Listening to The Higsons
    One night in November
    And I thought I heard them singing
    Said “I gotta let this hen out”

    The Higsons’ song was actually called “Got to let this heat out” but it really does sound like they’re singing “Gotta let this hen out” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrMPa5Ms2zA). and Robyn wrote a whole song about it. and then put out an album with the name.

    he also has, in “Freeze”:

    I know who wrote The Book of Love
    It was an idiot
    It was a fool
    A slobbering fool with a speech defect and a shaking hand
    And he wrote my name next to yours
    But it should’ve been David Byrne or somebody

  84. 84
    Rathskeller says:

    The very last line of T. Rex’s “Get it on (Bang a gong)” is “meanwhile, I’m still thinking…” which explicitly referenced the same line in Chuck Berry’s “Little Queenie”

  85. 85
    Fort Geek says:

    The only ones I can think of are by Rush:

    “By-Tor and the Snow Dog”; the evil By-Tor is defeated, but becomes a good guy who defeats the Necromancer in “The Necromancer.”

    Then there’s “Cygnus X-1”, partly narrated by an unnamed character who rides his ship into a black hole…and appears during a battle between Apollo and Dionysus in “Hemispheres.” He calms everyone down, so they name him Cygnus, the God of Balance.

  86. 86
    ASV says:

    @dedc79: “Girls Like Status” is the one that comes to mind for me. Specifically references and quotes Mountain Goats and D4 songs. “Stay Positive” also explicitly references a bunch of other Hold Steady songs, but I don’t know if that really counts.

  87. 87
    NA says:

    “Sweet Jane” by Velvet Underground

  88. 88
    NotMax says:

    @Randy P.

    The (Peter Schickele) P.D.Q. Bach Quodlibet for Small Orchestra is nothing but a string of references.

  89. 89
    cleek says:

    sdfsdfsdfadr!

  90. 90
    David in NY says:

    @Seonachan: “mimics Dylan’s singing voice”

    Paul Simon parodying Dylan in “A Simple Desultory Philippic” and referencing Dylan’s “I’m All Right Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)” and “Rainy Day Women …”.

  91. 91
    James Gary says:

    @NotMax: The (Peter Schickele) P.D.Q. Bach Quodlibet for Small Orchestra is nothing but a string of references.

    I think it would be fair to say that PDQ Bach’s entire catalog is “nothing but a string of references,” with some slapstick bits thrown in here and there.

    (…and FYI, I am a huge fan of PDQ Bach.)

  92. 92
    A Ghost To Most says:

    Drive-By Truckers Southern Rock Opera is an entire double album referencing Lynyrd Skynyrd

  93. 93
    bg says:

    @Fuzzy:

    Garth Brooks, Good Ride Cowboy – Chris LeDoux’s Life is a Highway

  94. 94
    David in NY says:

    God, I hope Cole makes millions on that Newsmax link, ’cause just looking at offerings like “Dick Morris, Allen West Live on NewsmaxTV” makes my stomach roil …

  95. 95
    PeorgieTirebiter says:

    @Tom Traubert: Hey! I already hit that, but if you like The Band, you must dig Randy Newman:
    Didn’t used to be this ugly music playing all the time
    Where are we, on the moon?
    Whatever happened to the old songs, Mikey?
    Like the Duke of Earl
    Mikey, whatever happened to the f@&king Duke of Earl?

  96. 96
    Steeplejack says:

    From the old school: “I Dig Rock and Roll Music,” Peter, Paul and Mary; “Monterey,” the Animals.

    Also “FM,” Steely Dan, and “Jackie Wilson Said,” Van Morrison.

  97. 97
    Immanentize says:

    @low-tech cyclist:
    I have that Brenda Lee single at home somewhere….

  98. 98
    David in NY says:

    @cleek: You child has grabbed the keyboard.

  99. 99
    Steeplejack says:

    Rick Nelson, “Garden Party,” referencing his old “Ricky” Nelson stuff.

  100. 100
    Napoleon says:

    Does The Beatles All You Need is Love count, since in it they sing a bit of She Loves You.

  101. 101
    NotMax says:

    @James Gary

    Actually, I must amend. The Quodlibet is credited on the original album to Peter Schickele, and he makes no bones about it not being attributed P.D.Q. Bach, but does say beforehand that as one becomes immersed in the music of another, “certain things tend to rub off.”

    Not particularly referential, really, are pieces such as the Sinfonia Concertante. The pairing of lute and bagpipes never fails to elicit giggles.

  102. 102
    Robin Oz says:

    I love the John Prine song “Lake Marie”, especially the references to “Louie Louie”. Aww baby… we gotta go now.

  103. 103
    gogol's wife says:

    Fascinating thread.

    You know I have to do one in honor of Shirley Temple. The verse to “But definitely” in Poor Little Rich Girl:

    This is station L-O-V-E,
    I’m Cupid’s assistant, please listen to me.
    My boss Mr. Cupid told me,
    To make hearts loop the loop,
    Never, ever to sing about
    The Good Ship Lollipop,
    Or animal crackers in my soup.

  104. 104
    Bobby Thomson says:

    Me and Del were singin’ Little Runaway.

    I realize teh cool kids don’t listen to that or to Hootie and the Blowfish, but Only Wanna Be With You has three separate shoutouts to Zimmie.

  105. 105
    Bobby Thomson says:

    Some people call me the Space Cowboy.

  106. 106
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @RSA: Glass Onion is basically a series of self-referential lyrics.

  107. 107
    Karen in GA says:

    Songs That She Sang in the Shower, Jason Isbell. The song actually starts out funny, in a dark, miserable kind of way. The choruses:

    And the songs that she sang in the shower are stuck in my head
    Like ‘Bring Out Your Dead,’ ‘Breakfast In Bed’
    And experience robs me of hope that she’ll make it back home
    So I’m stuck on my own
    I’m stuck on my own

    And the songs that she sang in the shower all ring in my ears
    Like ‘Wish You Were Here,” How I wish you were here
    And experience robs me of hope that you’ll ever return,
    So I breathe and I burn
    I breathe and I burn

    And the songs that she sang in the shower are stuck in my mind
    Like ‘Yesterday’s Wine,’ Like ‘Yesterday’s Wine’
    And experience tells me that I’ll never hear them again
    Without thinking of then, without thinking of then

    Southeastern. Great album.

  108. 108
    cleek says:

    @Bobby Thomson:
    Hootie?

    Saw you last night you were sleepin’ in my mind
    Doubtin’ you’ll ever be free again
    Then I climbed back inside, someone open my eyes
    To find me drunk again, Bonnie on the radio
    And she was singing low “Give it up or let me go”

  109. 109
    Karen in GA says:

    @Bobby Thomson:

    Only Wanna Be With You has three separate shoutouts to Zimmie.

    He sued them for it, as I recall.

  110. 110
    canuckistani says:

    Garbage’s song “Push It” references the Beach Boys “Don’t Worry Baby”

  111. 111
    Wag says:

    Semisonic’ song “Singing in my Sleep” is about a mix tape made for a lover and references dire straites Romeo and Juliet , The Loon Sleeps Tonight, and many others.

  112. 112
    Glocksman says:

    Glenn Miller’s Jukebox Saturday Night

    Moppin‘ up soda pop rickeys
    To our heart’s delight
    Dancin‘ to swingeroo quickies
    Jukebox Saturday night

    Goodman and Kyser, and Miller
    Help to make things bright
    Mixin‘ hot licks with vanilla
    Jukebox Saturday night

    They put nothin‘ past us
    Me and honey lamb
    Making one Coke last us
    Till it’s time to scram

    Money we really don’t need bad
    We make out alright
    Lettin‘ the other guy feed that
    Jukebox Saturday night

    After sippin‘ a soda we got a scheme
    Somebody else plays the record machine
    It’s so easy to say pet names
    When you listen to the trumpet of Harry James

    We love to hear that tenor croon
    Whenever the Ink Spots sing a tune

    If I didn’t know why the roses grow
    Then I wouldn’t know why the roses grow

    Now listen, honey child, if I didn’t know
    All them little things I’m supposed to know
    Then I sure would be a sad man
    If I didn’t know

    Money we really don’t need it
    We make out alright
    Lettin‘ the other guy feed that
    Jukebox Saturday night

  113. 113
    James Gary says:

    @NotMax: Not particularly referential, really, are pieces such as the Sinfonia Concertante…

    You are correct. Please amend my earlier comment to read “I think it would be fair to say that PDQ Bach’s entire catalog contains a LOT of pieces that are “nothing but a string of references.” :P

  114. 114
    Curt says:

    What, no mention of Life Is A Rock But The Radio Rolled Me? Almost every single word in the song is a name check.

  115. 115
    Mike E says:

    Paranoia, big destroyer!

    Kinks song, which uses Lola as a character and rips off All Day and All Of the Night riffs.

  116. 116
    NotaBene says:

    Steely Dan, from “Everything You Did”: “Turn up the Eagles, the neighbors are listening.”

    To which the Eagles replied, in some obscure track: “They stab it with their steely knives, but they still can’t kill the beast.”

  117. 117
    Glocksman says:

    Warren Zevon’s Play It All Night Long

    Grandpa pissed his pants again
    He don’t give a damn
    Brother Billy has both guns drawn
    He ain’t been right since Vietnam

    “Sweet home Alabama”
    Play that dead band’s song
    Turn those speakers up full blast
    Play it all night long

    Daddy’s doing Sister Sally
    Grandma’s dying of cancer now
    The cattle all have brucellosis
    We’ll get through somehow

  118. 118
    john f says:

    Led Zeppelin Rock and Roll – mentions the Walking in the Moonlight, the Stroll and Book of Love

    The Crunge- references James Brown Sex Machine and Otis Redding Mr Pitiful

  119. 119
    Citizen_X says:

    @A Ghost To Most:

    Drive-By Truckers Southern Rock Opera is an entire double album referencing Lynyrd Skynyrd

    And almost as often, Neil Young.

    A couple of oblique references:

    And I was pretending that I was in/a Galaxie 500 video
    –Liz Phair, Stratford-On-Guy

    You will never hear/surf music again
    –Jimi Hendrix, Third Stone from the Sun, needling the Beach Boys? Dick Dale?

  120. 120
    pacem appellant says:

    While Frank Sinatra sings ‘Stormy Weather’ the flies and spiders get along together – Cake, in the song Frank Sinatra.

    I also think of song Busby Berkeley Dreams by The Magnetic Fields, which doesn’t quite reference a song, but an impressive choreographer.

    And of course, just about anything by the Flight of the Conchords, though “Bowie’s in Space” is my favorite and is a wonderful tribute to David Bowie’s entire corpus.

  121. 121
    bluefoot says:

    No one has mentioned on of my favorites: in the background of part of Yes’ I’ve Seen All Good People, there’s the line “All we are saying, is give peace a chance” being sung over and over.

  122. 122
    DougJ says:

    Give me back my hammer
    Give me back my nail
    Give me back my jeans and my JJ cale

  123. 123
    Irony Abounds says:

    Five for Fighting’s “Slice” references American Pie – does that get me double credit?

  124. 124
    Larry N says:

    ‘I drunk myself blind to the sound of old T-Rexx, and Who’s Next’ (Pete Townshend, You Better You Bet)

  125. 125
    Gus says:

    The Who’s “You Better You Bet”

    I got your body right now on my mind but I drunk myself blind to the sound of old T Rex. To the sound of old TRex and who’s next.

  126. 126
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    James Brown was the king of this sort of thing. BT Express had a hit with “Express,” James comes with “(It’s not the Express) It’s the J.B.’s Monaurail.” The Average White Band makes a splash on the scene, James forms a group called the A.A.B.B. (Above Average Black Band). And of course, a lot of his lyrics were basically just stage patter referencing other stuff–songs, dance crazes, whatever.

    As for its prevalence in hip-hop…that’s just the sampling mentality coming into play, plus the fact that hip-hop is more lyrical than other forms of music and relies on references and allusions more.

  127. 127
    Matt in HB says:

    Does U2’s Angel of Harlem referencing John Coltrane and A Love Supreme count? A shout out to a collection of songs, not just one.

  128. 128
    Low Country Boil says:

    Although it’s an album rather than a song, Chris Mars’ “Listen to the Darkside” and Guster’s “Come Downstairs and Say Hello” both mention Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon.

  129. 129
    Citizen_X says:

    American Music Club, Johnny Mathis’ Feet, where they also reference, um, my life:

    “Johnny looked at my old collection of/punk rock posters/Anonymous scenes of disaffection/chaos and torture”

  130. 130
    jayboat says:

    Always loved Hootie’s references to Zimmie in that song.
    Blood On The Tracks is very special to me.

    Great thread- I can hear all these great tunes in my head as I read through it.

    Props to Barry- I thought I was the only person left who even remembered Cat Mother.

  131. 131
    M.C. Simon Milligan says:

    @HL_guy: There’s also the mis-attributed call-out in DM’s “Punk Rock Girl”

    And someone played a Beach Boys song
    On the jukebox
    It was “California Dreamin'”
    So we started screamin’
    “On such a winter’s day”

  132. 132
    Tom the First says:

    @Larry N:

    Yep… was gonna say this one. An ode to the misanthropic, drunken music lover.

  133. 133
    Paul in KY says:

    The REM song that name drops Leo Nard Bern Stein in it

  134. 134
    Splitting Image says:

    “A singer on the radio, late last night
    Said ‘You’ve got to kick at the darkness ’till it bleeds daylight'”

    – U2, “God, Part II” (referencing Bruce Cockburn’s “Lovers in a Dangerous Time”)

    “You point the way to the truth when you say ‘All you need is love'”

    – George Harrison, “All Those Years Ago” (referencing the Beatles “All You Need is Love”)

    Peter Schilling’s “Major Tom (Coming Home)” is an extended reference to David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”.

  135. 135
    Paul in KY says:

    @dubo: They figured out how much the songwriter was paid & how those payments can go on & on & be passed down to descendents.

  136. 136
    Shana says:

    @cleek: We named our daughter Elaine partly because of “Freeze” and yes, she does have a strong sense of justice. In fact she’s in law school now.

    How about Billy Bragg’s “Levi Stubbs’ Tears”?

  137. 137
  138. 138
    E R Upton says:

    @dubo: What started the trend of singer-songwriters was the Beatles. They wrote their own songs, and everyone made a big thing about it from the beginning (as well they should have!). It is impossible to underestimate the influence of the Beatles on popular music.

  139. 139
    Low Country Boil says:

    Dire Straits’ “Walk of Life” mentions several songs — “Be Bop a Lula” by Gene Vincent, “Mack the Knife” (by a variety of artists), “Baby What’d I Say” and “I Got a Woman” by Ray Charles, “Sweet Lovin’ Woman” by Dobie Gray, and maybe a couple of others.

  140. 140
    catbirdman says:

    “Crackle & Drag” by Paul Westerberg is about Sylvia Plath offing herself. The song’s title quotes from the ultimate line of Plath’s last poem, Edge. Both song and poem are hauntingly beautiful.

  141. 141
    Tom the First says:

    My absolute favorite is from Savoy Truffle, mainly because it name checks a song from the same album…

    “But what is sweet now turns so sour
    We all know Ob-la-di-bla-da…”

    Always thought the “sweet now turns so sour” line was an allusion to the other Beatles coming to hate the song after Paul insisted on doing take after take after take of it.

  142. 142
    C.S. says:

    It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky-Tonk Angels is actually more famous than the song it’s responding to.

  143. 143
    Paul in KY says:

    There’s also one called ‘Riot Grrl’ (can’t remember which band) where one of the lines is: ‘She loves Social Distortion’.

  144. 144
    Tom Traubert says:

    @PeorgieTirebiter:

    So you did… so you did…

  145. 145
    Tom Traubert says:

    @PeorgieTirebiter:

    So you did… so you did…

  146. 146
    ALEXXX says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....feature=kp

    Out on tour with the Smashing Pumpkins
    Nature kids, I/they don’t have no function
    I don’t understand what they mean
    And I could really give a fuck
    The Stone Temple Pilots,
    They’re elegant bachelors
    They’re foxy to me
    Are they foxy to you?
    I will agree
    There isn’t absolutely nothing
    Nothing more than me
    Dreamin’ dream dream dream

  147. 147
    cleek says:

    @john b:
    more YLT

    “Big Day Coming”:

    Let’s wake up the neighbors, let’s turn up our amps
    And we know we’re used to without a plan
    We can play a Stones song, “Sitting on a Fence”
    And it’ll sound pretty good, til I forget how it ends

    and “Drug Test”

    I see myself with headphones on
    I’m listening to Wake of the Flood
    I’m listening to Wake of the Flood
    now I’m high

    “We’re An American Band”:

    Some college in the spring, the sound is all wrong
    Reset the mate to our Flamin Groovies song

    (they covered FG’s ‘You Tore Me Down’)

    “Paul Is Dead”

    The guy in front of me, Walkman, headphones on, Stones cranked
    The thing that caught my ear, singing loud and clear
    Well every couple of steps I heard “Woo-woo”

    there are probably many more

  148. 148
    Steeplejack says:

    @John Cole:

    Glad you posted that! But I would have gone with this version: unexpected (and unexpectedly good) guitar solo by Waylon at 1:50. Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson are like “Damn, Waylon!”

  149. 149
    cleek says:

    @Shana:

    We named our daughter Elaine partly because of “Freeze”

    that is awesome ! :)

  150. 150
    C.S. says:

    Would Woody Guthrie’s Jesus Christ count, since it’s basically a rewriting of the folk tune Jesse James?

  151. 151
    roc says:

    Hip-hop prizes authenticity and cultural roots.
    Shout-outs — the right ones at the right times — are a short-hand/secret-handshake to demonstrate both things at the same time.

    Rock music doesn’t have the same emphasis on lineage or additive culture.

    Just look at how many and varied are the sub-genres of rock-n-roll.
    Hip-hop covers a range of different styles — but nothing that compares to the gulf between Pop, Blues, Prog, Metal, et al.

  152. 152
    Tom Traubert says:

    My Woman From Tokyo — “Frank Zappa and the Mothers…”

  153. 153
    Tom the First says:

    You can also take your pick of any number of Destroyer songs.

  154. 154
    Tom the First says:

    You can also take your pick of any number of Destroyer songs.

  155. 155
    C.S. says:

    Two references for “Jole Blon” that come to me off the top of my head. James McMurtry’s Song for a Deckhand’s Daughter (“He’d always whistle Jolie Blon/On his way out the back door on a Friday night”) and Guy Clark’s South Coast of Texas (“They’re bound for the Mexican Bay of Campeche/And the deckhands are singing “adios Jole Blon””).

  156. 156
    Graham says:

    Another Randy Newman, Christmas in Capetown, references ABBA’s Dancin’ Queen

  157. 157
    badpoetry says:

    Better than Ezra, “A Lifetime”:

    And that REM song was playing in my mind
    In three and a half minutes
    Felt like a lifetime

    (REM song in question is rumored to be Perfect Circle from Murmur)

  158. 158
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    150 comments and no mention of the rarely heard second verse in Money for Nothing? There seems to be some argument over just who it’s referencing (my vote has always been for Boy George).

    And to go obscure: Minutemen- Tour Spiel

  159. 159
    TheMightyTrowel says:

    The wombats song Joy Division is a perennial earworm of mine. Can you guess whose songs are name checked?

  160. 160
    Heliopause says:

    I assume somebody has mentioned Glass Onion upthread.

  161. 161
    Stuck in Brownbackistan says:

    Let’s see…

    Arthur Conley’s “Sweet Soul Music” references and namechecks several songs and artists.

    The Kinks’ “Destroyer” uses the riff from their “All Day and All of the Night” and lyrics that call out “Lola”.

    Springsteen’s “Johnny Bye Bye” reworks “Johnny B. Goode” into a song about Elvis’ death.

    A couple of clever ones from Will Smith’s heyday – “Men In Black” steals a lot from Patrice Rushen’s “Forget Me Nots” and “Getting Jiggy With It” does the same with Sister Sledge’s “He’s the Greatest Dancer”.

  162. 162
    cleek says:

    Pavement, “The Unseen Power Of The Picket Fence” is all about REM.

    There’s some bands I’d like to name-check
    And one of them is R.E.M.
    Classic songs with a long history
    Southern boys just like you and me : R.E.M.

    Flashback to 1983
    “Chronic Town” was their first EP
    Later on came “Reckoning”
    Finster’s art…
    Titles to match “So. Central Rain”
    “(Don’t Go Back To) Rockville,”
    “Harborcoat”
    “Pretty Persuasion,”
    You’re born to be a “Camera”
    “Time After Time”‘s my least favorite song
    “Time After Time” was my least favorite song!

    The singer, he had long hair
    And the drummer, he knew restraint
    And the bassman, he had all the right moves
    And that guitar player was no saint

    So let’s go way back to the ancient times
    When there were no fifty states
    And on a hill, there stands Sherman
    Sherman and his mates…

    And they’re marching through Georgia
    (G-G-G-G-Georgia)
    (repeat)

    And there stands R.E.M..

  163. 163
    specialed5000 says:

    Eddie Money- Take Me Home Tonight ‘just like Ronnie sang’ and then Ronnie Spector chimes in ‘be my little baby’

  164. 164
    Trollhattan says:

    Couple from Richard Thompson:

    “Don’t Sit on My Jimmy Shands”
    “Al Bowley’s in Heaven”

    Anybody remember “Rock On” by one-hit-wonder David Essex?

    Hey, shout, summertime blues
    Jump up and down in my blue suede shoes
    Hey, kid, rock ‘n’ roll, rock on

    And where do we go from here?
    Which is a way that’s clear?
    Still looking for that blue jean baby queen
    Prettiest girl I’ve ever seen
    See her shake on the movie screen, Jimmy Dean
    (James Dean)

  165. 165
    Calouste says:

    Barclay James Harvest wrote a song that solely consisted of Beatles’ song titles/lyrics:

    The long and winding road
    That leads to your door
    Here comes the sun, it’s all right
    People shout for more

    But were you trying to deceive telling me
    All you need is love to succeed

    Lady Madonna, let it be
    Something in the way you moved me yesterday
    All you need is love so they say

    Across the universe
    One after nine ‘o’ nine
    I got a feeling for you blue
    And I feel fine

    I tried so hard to make believe that I’d see
    All you need is love to succeed

    Lady Madonna, let it be
    Something in the way you moved me yesterday
    All you need is love
    So they say

    Lady Madonna, let it be
    Something in the way you moved me

    Lady Madonna, let it be (Let it be, let it be)
    Something in the way you moved me (Once upon a time I dreamt away)

    Lady Madonna, let it be (There’s nothing you can’t do that nothing, go, go)
    Something in the way you moved me

    Lady Madonna, let it be (Once upon a time I dreamt away)
    Something in the way you moved me (There’s nothing you can’t do that nothing, go, go)

    Lady Madonna, let it be
    Something in the way you moved me

  166. 166
    Trollhattan says:

    @specialed5000:

    Good one.

  167. 167
    Trollhattan says:

    Gilliwn Welsh’s “Elvis Presley Blues” has quite a few subtle song references. A sampling:

    I was thinking that night about Elvis
    Day that he died, day that he died
    I was thinking that night about Elvis
    Day that he died, day that he died
    Just a country boy that combed his hair
    Put on a shirt his mother made and he went on the air
    And he shook it like a chorus girl
    He shook it like a Harlem queen
    He shook it like a midnight rambler, baby
    Like he never seen

  168. 168
    low-tech cyclist says:

    @Tom the First: Damn, I was gonna do “Savoy Truffle,” but had to go to a meeting, and you snuck in there while I was gone!

  169. 169
    low-tech cyclist says:

    @specialed5000: cleek beat ya to it, way up near the beginning.

  170. 170
    Karen in GA says:

    @cleek: Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ has a song called, simply, “REM.”

  171. 171
    Suzanne says:

    Bob Dylan sings in “Sarah”, “I wrote ‘Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands’ for you”.

    Social D’s “White Light White Heat White Trash”.

  172. 172
    James Gary says:

    …also, Stephen Malkmus’ “Jenny and the Ess-Dog:” “Kiss when they listen/to “Brothers In Arms and if there’s something wrong with this/they don’t see the harm…”

  173. 173
    Graham says:

    Tom Waits’ Tom Thumbs Blues mentions Waltzing Matilda.

  174. 174
    Steeplejack says:

    Just came to me: Johnny Rivers, “Summer Rain.”

    “And the jukebox kept on playin’ ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.'”

  175. 175
    Graham says:

    Randall Bramblett’s song Red Booth mentions the song Don’t Make Me Over..he hears it and breaks down and cries, it got to him…..

  176. 176
    bg says:

    Alanna Myles, Black Velvet
    The whole song is a tribute to Elvis, but especially :

    Up in Memphis the music’s like a heatwave
    White lightning, bound to drive you wild
    Mama’s baby’s in the heart of every school girl
    “Love me tender” leaves ’em cryin’ in the aisle
    The way he moved, it was a sin, so sweet and true
    Always wanting more, he’d leave you longing for

    Black velvet and that little boy’s smile
    Black velvet with that slow southern style
    A new religion that’ll bring ya to your knees
    Black velvet if you please

  177. 177
    gar says:

    The Song “Ride Captain Ride” by Blues Image…….

    Seventy-three men sailed up from the San Francisco Bay
    Rolled off of their ship, and here’s what they had to say
    “We’re callin’ everyone to ride along to another shore
    We can laugh our lives away and be free once more”

    But no one heard them callin’, no one came at all
    ‘Cause they were too busy watchin’ those old raindrops fall
    As a storm was blowin’ out on the peaceful sea
    Seventy-three men sailed off to history

    Raindrops is from “Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head” by B.J. Thomas…..

  178. 178
    Steeplejack says:

    Just thought of a couple of songs that reference themselves. Whoa, trippy.

    Archie Bell and the Drells, “Tighten Up.”

    King Curtis, “Memphis Soul Stew.”

  179. 179
    Tom the First says:

    @Steeplejack: Love this song.

  180. 180
    Tom the First says:

    @low-tech cyclist: Doh!

  181. 181
    narya says:

    the Jazz Butchers reference Love & Rockets in “the Devil is My Friend”

  182. 182
    Xjmueller says:

    “Turn up the Eagles, the neighbors are listening.” – Steely Dan, Tell me everything.

  183. 183
    FlipYrWhig says:

    I hate myself for knowing this, but there was a recent Kid Rock single whose premise, and chorus, were about listening to “Sweet Home Alabama” in the summer of 1989. Not just a reference to the song, a reference to listening to the song, and because it was already an old song, it’s almost nostalgia for nostalgia: nostalgia used to be better than it is now, I guess.

  184. 184
    Xjmueller says:

    Beatles – Back in the USSR: ripped title from Chuck Berry, references Ray Charles’ Georgia, and parodies the Beach Boys California Girls.

  185. 185
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    A bunch of Van Morrison songs reference old blues and r&b songs/singers. For example, Jackie Wilson Said.

  186. 186
    Xj says:

    @Xjmueller: sorry, missed it upthread

  187. 187
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Also, Wrong ‘Em Boyo, made famous by The Clash, uses Stagger Lee.

  188. 188
    phein39 says:

    James McMurtry, Levelland:

    . . . and I can hear the marching band,
    doing the best they can to play,
    “Smoke on the Water,” “Joy to the World” . . .

  189. 189
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @phein39: Smoke on the Water name checks Zappa.

  190. 190
    Origuy says:

    Steve Goodman’s “Ballad of Penny Evans” refers to Penny and her husband playing “Heart and Soul”.
    Warning, don’t click that link if you’re where someone can see you crying. It’s really sad.

  191. 191
    phein39 says:

    in memory of Bob Casale,

    “Come Back, Jonee” – a reworking of Johnny B. Goode:

    Hey, come back Jonee
    Gotta come back now, Jonne
    Hey, come back, Jonee

    Jonee be good
    She’ll love you, sure
    You made her cry

    Jonee, you’re bad
    You’re gonna make her sad

    Jonee went to the pawnshop
    Bought himself a guitar
    Now he’s gonna go far

    You gotta love ’em and leave ’em
    Sometimes deceive ’em
    You made her cry

    Jonee, you’re bad
    You’re gonna make her sad

    After the teardrops
    Jonee jumped in his Datsun
    Drove out on the expressway

    Went head-on into a semi
    His guitar is all that’s left now
    He made her cry

    And she calls his name
    Jonee, you’re to blame
    Come back Jonee

    Hey, come back Jonee
    You’ve gotta come back now, Jonee, Jonee, Jonee
    Hey, come back Jonee

  192. 192
    cminus says:

    A few that I don’t think have been mentioned:

    “Volcano Girls” by Veruca Salt references “Seether”, also by Veruca Salt. I told you about the Seether before / You know the one that’s neither or nor / Well here’s another clue if you please, / the Seether’s Louise.

    “Raised on the Radio” by the Ravyns references songs by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Michelle, Lady Jane, yeah I fell in love with girls I never met.

    “The King of Bedside Manor” by Barenaked Ladies ends with the singer shouting “Styx!” and quoting extensively from “Mr. Roboto”.

  193. 193
    mwbugg says:

    I’ll Fix Your Flat Tire, Merle – Pure Prairie League

  194. 194
    Augie says:

    @badpoetry: I had always guessed that the REM song was “Everybody Hurts”. But it was only that, a guess, based on the somber nature of the song.

  195. 195
    Robin Oz says:

    @Trollhattan: You reminded me that “My First Lover” from the same Gillian Welch album has lines about listening to “Quicksilver Girl” by Steve Miller Band…

  196. 196
    Viperbuck says:

    Elvis Costello opens “Suit of Lights” with the line:

    “While Nat King Cole sings ‘Welcome To My World’, you request some song you hate, you sentimental fool”.

    Ben Vaughn wrote a wonderful song I first heard covered by Marshall Crenshaw:

    “I’m Sorry, but So Is Brenda Lee”

    Harry Nilsson’s cover (rearrangement) of “You Can’t Do That” references a couple dozen Beatle tunes.

  197. 197
    badpoetry says:

    @Augie: Thematically, “Everybody Hurts” is a good fit; but its duration is 5:20. The nice thing about “Perfect Circle” is that it is exactly 3:30.

    Here’s someone that really gave the question some thought; he makes a strong case.

    http://www.simpleprop.com/ande.....etime.html

  198. 198
    Wallis Lane says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Good one: “I’m going to have to leave my kni-i-i-fe in your back.”

    I’d add Arthur Lee & Love, “Laughing Stock,” where they reference their first hit “Little Red Book” while imitating that song’s opening notes:

    “I keep on singin’ my songs, I just got out my little red / I keep on doin’ all the / Things I shouldn’t have to do”

    Also “Mashed Potato Time” by Dee Dee Sharp references “Please Mr. Postman” and “the Lion Sleeps Tonight” as cool songs to dance to:

    “They got a dance was outta sight, doin’ the lion sleeps tonight”
    And they discovered it’s the most, man, The day they did it to Please Mr. Postman”

  199. 199
    Gordon says:

    @Low Country Boil: I’ve always thought “Walk of Life” was completely a response and tribute to to old rock and roll, especially “Johnny B. Goode”

  200. 200

    It’s a band reference, not a song, but I’m quite partial to the “deadhead sticker on a Cadillac” line in Boys Of Summer. Bonus points to the Ataris for updating to a Black Flag sticker.

  201. 201
    ZenHousecat says:

    How about X, True Love, part 2, last verse:

    True love is the land of a thousand dances
    Be-bop-a-lu-la
    D-i-v-o-r-c-e
    Skip to my lou
    A-hunk-a-hunk-a burning love
    I’ve been working on the rail road
    Black Betty, black Betty, had a baby
    Freddy’s dead, that’s what I said

  202. 202
    Spike says:

    @Karen in GA:

    Southeastern. Great album.

    You have just demonstrated a remarkable talent for understatement.

  203. 203
    Augie says:

    @badpoetry: @Augie: Thnks for the link. Interesting stuff and well researched though I am not 100% convinced (we are all slaves to our original interpretations). However, I would find the BTE explanation cited that it just refers to a “general REM” song to be horribly disappointing.

  204. 204
    Joshua Buhs says:

    From U2’s God part II:

    Heard a singer on the radio late last night
    He says he’s gonna kick the darkness
    ’til it bleeds daylight
    I…I believe in love

    Which references Bruce Cockburn’s Lovers in a Dangerous Time.

  205. 205
    barbequebob says:

    @Rathskeller:

    The opening line of the Beatles “Come Together” is “here come old flathop, he was movin up slowly”, which is a direct quote from Chuck’s song “You Can’t Catch Me” ( i know it mostly because the Stones covered it in their early days).

    I understand that Chuck successfully sued the Beatles for using his lyrics without permission.

    Also, Rick Nelson song “Garden Party” mentions a number of song titles, and musicians, for examle

    “I said hello to Mary Lou (RICK NELSON), she belongs to me (DYLAN)
    When I sang a song about a honky-tonk (STONES COUNTRY HONK), it was time to leave

    Someone opened up a closet door and out stepped Johnny B. Goode
    Playing guitar like a ring an’ a bell and lookin’ like he should”

  206. 206
    barbequebob says:

    @Rathskeller:

    The opening line of the Beatles “Come Together” is “here come old flathop, he was movin up slowly”, which is a direct quote from Chuck’s song “You Can’t Catch Me” ( i know it mostly because the Stones covered it in their early days).

    I understand that Chuck successfully sued the Beatles for using his lyrics without permission.

    Also, Rick Nelson song “Garden Party” mentions a number of song titles, and musicians, for examle

    “I said hello to Mary Lou (RICK NELSON), she belongs to me (DYLAN)
    When I sang a song about a honky-tonk (STONES COUNTRY HONK), it was time to leave

    Someone opened up a closet door and out stepped Johnny B. Goode
    Playing guitar like a ring an’ a bell and lookin’ like he should”

  207. 207
    Danimaux says:

    Also “The summer’s here and time is rght for fighting in the street” — The Stones referencing Martha and the Vandellas.

  208. 208
    Danimaux says:

    Also “The summer’s here and time is right for fighting in the street” — The Stones referencing Martha and the Vandellas.

  209. 209
    eyelessgame says:

    “Killing me softly with his song” is about Don McLean…

  210. 210
    badpoetry says:

    @Augie: I do agree that the official explanation (“general REM song”) is unsatisfying, but I kind of get why they won’t give a direct answer- it makes the song more interesting to have it open to the listener’s interpretation. For me, I like to imagine the song is “Fall on Me”, just because I have strong memories associated with that song… and as long as they don’t specifically say what song it really is, it’s easy for me to substitute in my own preference. (Also, it’s kind of fun to research and speculate, and as long as BTE doesn’t settle the question, we can still be amused with wondering).

    But if it is “Perfect Circle”, that’s still ok with me- it’s a very melancholy and haunting song. (So is “Everybody Hurts”, come to think of it).

  211. 211
    Tom the First says:

    @Joshua Buhs: Plus, the structured as an answer to Lennon’s “God.”

  212. 212
    Songgirl says:

    Hi all, I’m new here. Since the thread started with a Joni reference, how about her song “Chinese Café”, where she starts singing Unchained Melody in the middle of the song?

    Down at the Chinese Cafe
    We’d be dreaming on our dimes
    We’d be playing “Oh my love, my darling”
    One more time

  213. 213
    Randrew says:

    @HL_guy:
    And someone played a Beach Boys song
    On the jukebox
    It was “California Dreamin'”
    So we started screamin’
    “On such a winter’s day”

    Punk rock girl your dad is the Vice President
    Rich as the Duke of Earl

    And security guards trailed us
    To a record shop
    We asked for Mojo Nixon
    They said “He don’t work here”
    We said “If you don’t got Mojo Nixon
    Then your store could use some fixin'”

  214. 214
    bartkid says:

    What, no love for Canadian punk band, SNFU, with “Joni Mitchell Tapes”?:
    Just when he found what he liked
    It was taken away
    In his chevy he did perish
    To ‘A Free Man in Paris’.

  215. 215
    brantl says:

    And Neil should have told Lynard Skynard to masssage his junk.

  216. 216
    Epicurus says:

    @The Dangerman: It’s referring to a “levee” or earthen dam, I believe. Levy is a whole nother thang…or a nice loaf of Jewish Rye.

  217. 217
    Kevin from the North Shore says:

    @cminus:

    BNL’s Gordon is packed with musical quotes: “Happy Hour” by The Housemartins in “Hello City”, “Tom Sawyer” and “Spirit of the Radio” by Rush and “Linus and Lucy” by Vince Guaraldi in “Grade Nine”, the songs “Brian Wilson”, “New Kid on the Block” and “Be My Yoko Ono” themselves.

  218. 218
    cminus says:

    @Kevin from the North Shore: Oh, and also from “Grade Nine”: Dad said I have to be home by eleven / Aw man, I’m gonna miss “Stairway to Heaven”

  219. 219
    Paul in KY says:

    @brantl: In his recent autobiography, Neil said that he thought the criticism from Ronnie Van Zant was OK & that the song Southern Men could have been worded a bit differently…overly harsh I think was what he said.

  220. 220
    Danimaux says:

    @Paul in KY: @brantl: The Neil Young/Skynyrd thing was the original rap battle. Lost in the background is that they were all friends.

    It started with Southern Man, and of course Skynyrd’s rejoinder in Sweet Home Alabama, but then Neil followed up with this in “Walk On” —

    I hear some people
    been talkin’ me down,
    Bring up my name,
    pass it ’round.
    They don’t mention
    happy times
    They do their thing,
    I’ll do mine.

    Ooh baby,
    that’s hard to change
    I can’t tell them
    how to feel.
    Some get stoned,
    some get strange,
    But sooner or later
    it all gets real.

    Walk on….

  221. 221
    Danimaux says:

    Dead Kennedy’s “My Payola” take-off on “My Sharona” …. “we’re not a punk rock band, we’re a New Wave band!”

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