Why put ( ) around song titles?

I can understand a few cases like “Morning Train(Nine to Five)” the song in England was “Nine to Five” and it was changed to avoid confusion with Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5” coming out at the same time.

But what about “If You Love Me (Let Me Know)” or “I Can’t Go For That(No Can Do)” or “(They Long to Be)Close to You”

[obviously I have my chart book opened to the 70s and 80s page]

But you get the idea.

There are plenty of songs that are different “Feel Like Makin’ Love” that are two different songs yet don’t qualify the title with a ( ).

Two of your second set of cases are one of a song having a short and a long title.

“I’m always touched by your presence dear” - Long title.
“Presence dear” - Short title.

“(I’m always touched by your) presence dear” how it gets listed.

Some songs are given one title by the writer, but because a longer or shorter version of the phrase is so prominent in the song, the () form is used to give both. It is also used when the most noticable phrase in the song isn’t part of the actual title. And then, sometimes the writer just likes ()s.

(Don’t Cha Hear Me) Talkin’ To Ya
(Leavin’ On A) Jet Plane
I Want You (She’s So Heavy)
(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction

It was a 60s thing I know it doesn’t seem to make much sense I don’t remember hearing the short titles being used much My guess is it’s a way to combine two phrases into one title They don’t want to use any other punctuation, but somehow parentheses look right Haven’t you noticed how modern pop lyrics are afraid of using any punctuation at all

I thought it was to identify the song to radio listeners. One might hear a song on the radio and learn the chorus, but not the true title. If the chorus does not reflect the CD single title, putting it in () is helpful when these radio listeners try to buy said single without knowing the song’s real name.


Rolling Stones “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”.
Green Day “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)”.
James “Getting Away With It (All Messed Up)”.
John Lennon “Happy Christmas (War Is Over)”.
R.E.M. “All The Way To Reno (You’re Gonna Be A Star)”.

And sometimes, maybe just for fun:

R.E.M. “It’s the End of the World as We Know it (And I Feel Fine)”

Hit Me Baby (One More Time).
Did someone hear anything?

Then there’s the odd case where the actual title of the song isn’t as recognizable as how it’s popularly known from the lyrics:

Rupert Holmes “Escape (The Piña Colada Song)”

I know of one “doubler”, tho I assumed they were just trying to be clever:

The Stranglers - (Get a) Grip (on Yourself)
Hi all (by the way).


“Space Oddity” by David Bowie is another example. I and a lot of other people seem to know it as “Major Tom.”

(I see this thread getting moved to the Cafe soon).