Songs That Reference Other Songs

Kid Rock’s All Summer Long not only samples (if that’s the right word) Sweet Home Alabama, but is also largely about singing and listening to that song as a young lad.

What are some other songs that reference other songs? By “reference” I mean that the vocalist specifically mentions or alludes to the other song; I don’t just mean sampling.

“When You Dream” by Barenaked Ladies specifically mentions Del Shannon’s “Runaway.”

Shangri-La”, by the Electric Light Orchestra:

“My Shangri-La has gone away
Faded like the Beatles on ‘Hey Jude’”

As does Tom Petty’s “Runnin’ Down a Dream”:

“Trees went by
Me and Del were singing
Little Runaway
I was flying”

“Runnin’ Down a Dream” by Tom Petty also mentions “Runaway.”

“Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd references “Southern Man” by Neil Young.

“Hey Jude” is also specifically mentioned in Martina McBride’s “God’s Will.”

Rap music does this a lot. I’m trying to think of an example off hand. I’ll get back to you.

Songs referring to other singers?

Lynyrd Skynyrd: “A Southern man don’t need him around…” referring to Neil Young.

Genesis “Broadway Melody of 1974” mentions “In the Mood.”

Don McLean’s American Pie refers to approximately a crapton of other songs: Eight Miles High (the Byrds,) Helter Skelter (Beatles,) Like a Rolling Stone (Dylan,) etc.

The Reunion’s one-hit wonder song “Life Is A Rock (But The Radio Rolled Me)” mentions the Locomotion, Satisfaction, Gimme Shelter, Good Vibrations, Help Me Rhonda, Surfer Girl, Little Honda, Sugar Sugar, Yummy Yummy, as well as many more names of artists and bands.

The French singer Gerard Lenorman recorded a song (Michele) in which the female subjects is described singing Yesterday.

The Pogues’ “And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda”

Sweet Soul Music by Arthur Conley mentions:[ul]
[li]Going To A Go Go by Smokey and the Miracles[/li][li]Love’s A hurtin’ Thing by Lou Rawls[/li][li]Hold On, I’m Comin’ by Sam and Dave[/li][li]Mustang Sally by Wilson Pickett[/li][li]Otis Redding [/li][li]James Brown [/li][/ul]

Then there’s the Barclay James Harvest song Titles, with lyrics mainly based on titles of Beatles songs such as Lady madonna, The long and winding road, Here comes the sun, Let it be, Something and many more.

Springsteen’s Thunder Road references Roy Orbison singing for the lonely.

Also in Sparks’ “Rockin’ Girls” (“You’re the only girl I ever met who hates ‘Hey Jude’”).

The album *The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway *by Genesis is riddled with references to old songs, including “On Broadway,” “In the Mood,” “Runaway,” “It Won’t Be Long,” “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head,” and “It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll” (the last of which was actually a current hit when the album was recorded).

Not to forget “A Fairy Tale of Old New York” where they mention the song “Galway Bay.”

I’ll bet that Kid Rock’s song is a direct reference to Johnny Rivers’ “Summer Rain”

And, conversely, the Traveling Wilburys (of which Orbison was a member) did a song, “Tweeter and the Monkey Man”, which was an homage to Springsteen. The song’s lyrics contain the names of a bunch of Springsteen songs, including “Thunder Road”, “Jersey Girl”, “Stolen Car”, and “The River”, among others.