Can’t tell the name by the lyrics

Led Zeppelin wrote a lot of songs whose titles didn't match the lyrics.

Just a music list idea that’s been kicking around in my head for some time … and you can pitch in.

And the list is songs whose complete titles aren’t mentioned in the song. And the titles have to be organic – not overly contrived, wiseass, too-hip-and-clever-for-school, so you won’t find any Panic! At the Disco songs here. And it should go without saying that instrumentals don’t count, either.

One kinda famous band leads the league here, but there are others. So I’ll start this list off, songs in alphabetical order, and you can add to it at will – this is in no way a definitive list. Let’s see what you and I come up with:

  • A Day in the Life – The Beatles
  • A Roller Skating Jam Called Saturdays – De La Soul
  • Age of Consent – New Order
  • Baba O’Riley – The Who
  • Black Dog – Led Zeppelin
  • Blue Monday – New Order
  • Camel Walk – Southern Culture on the Skids
  • Closer to Home – Grand Funk
  • Crosseyed & Painless – Talking Heads
  • D’yer Maker – Led Zeppelin (BTW: The correct pronunciation, if you don’t know, is “Jer-maker,” as in “Jamaica” — not “Dyer Maker.” It’s a reggae song, after all, one of rock’s first …)
  • East Side Story – Bob Seger (his first single, 1966)
  • Flash and Crash – Rocky & the Riddlers
  • “40” – U2
  • Hot (I Need to Be Loved, Loved, Loved) – James Brown
  • Immigrant Song – Led Zeppelin
  • Kashmir – Led Zeppelin
  • Let It Rock – Chuck Berry
  • Me and You – She & Him
  • Mother Popcorn – James Brown
  • Opus 17 – The 4 Seasons
  • Out of the Night – The Hour Glass (Gregg & Duane Allman in their pre-Allman Brothers band)
  • Positively 4th Street – Bob Dylan
  • Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 – Bob Dylan
  • Revival – Allman Brothers Band
  • Romance in Durango – Bob Dylan
  • Seaside Bar Song – Bruce Springsteen
  • 7 and 7 Is – Love
  • South Central Rain – R.E.M.
  • Space Oddity – David Bowie
  • Sparky’s Dream – Teenage Fanclub
  • ST 100/6 – Big Star
  • Star Star – The Rolling Stones
  • Subterranean Homesick Blues – Bob Dylan
  • The Big Boss Groove – The Style Council
  • The Breakup Song – Greg Kihn Band
  • The Cry of the Wild Goose – Frankie Laine
  • The Lemon Song – Led Zeppelin
  • The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll – Bob Dylan
  • The Message – Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five
  • The Paris Match – The Style Council
  • The Rain, the Park and Other Things – The Cowsills
  • The Weight – The Band
  • Thieves Like Us – New Order
  • Train in Vain – The Clash
  • Trampled Underfoot – Led Zeppelin
  • Unchained Melody – The Righteous Brothers, The Salutations and others
  • What About Me – Quicksilver Messenger Service
  • Wolves, Lower – R.E.M.
  • X-Offender – Blondie

UPDATE 7/28: I knew there were a couple of early Bruces I missed, in addition to the one in the comments. More to come, of course …

  • Wild Billy’s Circus Story – Bruce Springsteen
  • Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street? – Bruce Springsteen

UPDATE 7/31:

  • The Ballad of El Goodo – Big Star


  • Who Killed Marilyn? – The Misfits

UPDATE 8/25:

  • Venus in Furs — The Velvet Underground

I was probably a punk before you was a punk, punk.


15 Responses to “Can’t tell the name by the lyrics”

  1. Jackie Says:

    “Smells like teen Spirit” Nirvana
    “Iris” GooGoo Dolls
    “Jumper” Blind Melon

  2. jmucci Says:

    Ok, first off…I had a friend who used to go searching through record store after record store trying to find a greatest hits album or regular release by The Who that had the song “Teenage Wasteland” on it, until I finally informed him that the song was called “Baba O’Reilly.” I always found that funny. He had passed up albums with that song many times, not realizing. Secondly, The Band do actually sing the words “put the weight right on me”, don’t they? And Robert Plant does sing the word “Kashmir” once during the song, but there really is no chorus to the song. And when I was a teenager I actually did think the song was pronounced “Dyer Maker”…lol. Also, doesn’t JB sing “I need to be loved loved loved”? He just doesn’t sing the word “hot”, I don’t believe. And “Star Star” is titled that for obvious reasons.

  3. jmucci Says:

    U2 – “Numb”
    U2 – “The Fly”

    And it just dawned on me…it’s “put the load right on me” by The Band…so you were right.

  4. Joe Says:

    You can’t leave off the Beach Boys. One of my favorite, underrated songs, from their most underrated — in teams of sales, at least — albums, Dennis “Slip on Through” from Sunflower.

    Off the top of my head, few others from acts you may have heard of:

    Tomorrow Never Knows – The Beatles

    Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen

    Young Turks – Rod Stewart

  5. Buzz Gordo Says:

    “Little Guitars” – Van Halen
    “After the Gold Rush” Neil Young
    “Peace Frog” The Doors
    “Incident on 57th St.” Brooce
    “Astral Weeks” Van Morrison

    Keep rockin’, Loomis!

  6. blake Says:

    how ’bout “Twist and Shout”–Isley Brothers/Beatles….wait, that one doesn’t work.
    How ’bout: “The Twist”–Chubby Checker….no, he says the title doesn’t he

    …..How did you DO this?

    “The Hotel Cali..” no no no. I’m going to have to think about this one.

  7. Colleen Says:

    59th St. Bridge Song and Lovers’ Concerto.
    Damn, but I’m old.

  8. sal Says:

    does l.a. blues by the stooges count?

  9. It's Drew! Says:

    “Omaha”,”Just Like Gene Autry: A Foxtrot” and “Seeing”-all Moby Grape songs by Skip Spence.

    Every song on Love’s “Forever Changes” album except “Alone Again Or”, “Andmoreagain” and “Old Man”.

  10. Buzz Gordo Says:

    Creque Alley – Mamas & Papas

  11. Buzz Gordo Says:

    “Soap Star Joe” Liz Phair

  12. Joe Says:

    River Song – Dennis Wilson
    For Pete’s Sake – The Monkees
    The Ballad of John and Yoko – The Beatles
    I.G.Y. – Donald Fagen
    Dialogue – Chicago

  13. Mike Nemeth Says:

    Cool list. Don’t have any to add. I do have some 80s song going through my head that I cannot name. I would share the obnoxious ditty if I could and curse somebody else.

    • franoramaworld Says:

      I was thinking it was “88 Lines About 44 Women” by The Nails — but with seven seconds to go, about 4:45 in at that point, the fucker has to go recite the title. Too bad — would’ve been a great addition to the list …

  14. Art Says:

    Life During Wartime – Talking Heads
    Long Train Runnin’ – Doobie Brothers
    Country Honk – Rolling Stones (Country version of Honky-Tonk Woman)

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