Songwriters occasionally write songs that make overt references to real musicians and bands. This list excludes hip hop songs because overt references to real musicians are more common than not. Hip hop arose as an informal accompaniment to dance music, when performers spoke over percussion breaks. Over time, these performers began speaking more and more in sync with the beat, and thus was born rapping. Without any true song traditions to fall back on, most of these early rappers told simple stories, jokes and teased their friends and enemies. As a result, modern hip hop musicians traditionally mention performers that inspired them, performers who are untalented or other simple references to real musicians.
Entries are listed with the following syntax:
- "Song Title" by musical artist(s) most associated with song references musicians and/or bands referred to.
- "Acting Like Black Sabbath" by the Dayglo Abortions references Black Sabbath and Tony Iommi.
- "Alex Chilton" by The Replacements references Alex Chilton.
- "All the Young Dudes" by Mott the Hoople references T. Rex, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.
- "AM Radio" by Everclear references Jimmy Page and Led Zeppelin.
- "And It Stoned Me" by Van Morrison references Jelly Roll Morton.
- "A Noun is a Person, Place, or Thing" by Schoolhouse Rock references Chubby Checker, the Beatles, and the Monkees.
- "Ballrooms of Mars" by T. Rex references Bob Dylan, John Lennon, and promoter Alan Freed.
- "Be My Yoko" by The Bobs references Yoko Ono.
- "Be My Yoko Ono" by Barenaked Ladies references Yoko Ono.
- "Beautiful Ground" by Grandaddy references Beck.
- "Bob Wills Is Still The King" by Waylon Jennings references Bob Wills.
- "Brian Wilson" by Barenaked Ladies references Brian Wilson.
- "Buddy Holly" by Weezer references Buddy Holly.
- "Come On, Eileen" by Dexy's Midnight Runners references Johnnie Ray.
- "Creeque Alley" by The Mamas and The Papas references Roger McGuinn, Barry McGuire, and John Sebastian (plus extensive references to themselves).
- "Death Singing" by Patti Smith references Benjamin Smoke.
- "Dio" by Tenacious D references Ronnie James Dio of Dio.
- "Don't Rock the Jukebox" by Alan Jackson references the Rolling Stones and George Jones.
- "Empty Garden (Hey, Hey Johnny)" by Elton John references John Lennon.
- "Fruitcakes" by Jimmy Buffett references Bob Marley.
- "Gee, I Wish I Was Back In The Army" by Danny Kaye references Bob Hope and Al Jolson.
- "God" by John Lennon references The Beatles.
- "Gone Country" by Alan Jackson references Bob Dylan.
- "Goodnight Saigon" by Billy Joel references The Doors and Bob Hope.
- "Hats Off to (Roy) Harper" by Led Zeppelin references Roy Harper.
- "Have Mercy" by The Judds references Merle Haggard and George Jones
- "Hell Yeah" by Montgomery Gentry references Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash and Bruce Springsteen
- "How Forever Feels" by Kenny Chesney references Jimmy Buffett.
- "I Feel Better Than James Brown" by Was (Not Was) references James Brown.
- "I Feel Lucky" by Mary Chapin Carpenter references Lyle Lovett and Dwight Yoakam.
- "I'll Never Smoke Weed with Willie Again" by Toby Keith references Willie Nelson.
- "In the Garage" by Weezer references KISS.
- "I Try to Think about Elvis" by Patty Loveless references Elvis Presley, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.
- "It's 5 o'clock Somewhere" by Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffett references Jimmy Buffett.
- "It's the End of the World as We Know It" by REM references Leonard Bernstein and critic Lester Bangs.
- "Jackie Wilson Said (I'm In Heaven When You Smile)" by Van Morrison references Jackie Wilson.
- "Johnny B. Goode" by Chuck Berry references Johnny Johnson (common nickname).
- "Just Wonderin'" by River City High references Jimmy Page and Led Zeppelin.
- "The Late Great Johnny Ace" by Paul Simon references Johnny Ace, The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and John Lennon.
- "Luckenbach, Texas" by Waylon Jennings references Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Hank Williams, Mickey Newberry, Jerry Jeff Walker.
- "Long Time Gone" by Dixie Chicks references Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Eddie Money, Hank Williams, and Hank Williams, Jr
- "Midnight in Montgomery" by Alan Jackson references Hank Williams
- "Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old)" by Garth Brooks references Chris LeDoux.
- "The New Style" by Beastie Boys references Jimmy Page.
- "The Night Hank Williams Came to Town" by Johnny Cash references Hank Williams.
- "Night Shift" by the Commodores references Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson.
- "On and On" by Stephen Bishop references Frank Sinatra.
- "Now I'm Here" by Queen references Mott the Hoople.
- "P.F. Sloan" by the The Association references P.F. Sloan.
- "Punky Reggae Party" by Bob Marley references The Jam, The Damned,The Clash and Dr. Feelgood.
- "Rock and Roll Heaven" by The Righteous Brothers references Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Otis Redding, Jim Morrison, Jim Croce and Bobby Darrin.
- "Rock Me Amadeus" by Falco references Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
- "Rock Show" by Wings references Jimmy Page.
- "Roll Over Beethoven" by Chuck Berry (and others) references Ludwig van Beethoven and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
- "The Seeker" by The Who references Bob Dylan and The Beatles.
- "Silver Heels" by Bob Welch references Paul McCartney and Etta James.
- "Sir Duke" by Stevie Wonder references Count Basie, Glenn Miller, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald.
- "Sit on my face Stevie Nicks" by the Rotters references Stevie Nicks.
- "Six String Music" by Jimmy Buffett references Ludwig von Beethoven and Jimmy Reed.
- "Song for Bobby Zimmerman" by David Bowie references Bob Dylan.
- "South's going to it again" by the Charlie Daniels Band references the Charlies Daniels Band, Barefoot Jerry, Willie Nelson, ZZ Top, Elvin Bishop, Richard Betts, Lynyrd Skynrd, and the Marshall Tucker Band
- "Stone for Bessie Smith" by Dory Previn references Bessie Smith and Janis Joplin.
- "Surrender" by Cheap Trick references KISS.
- "Sweet Gene Vincent" by Ian Dury references Gene Vincent.
- "Sweet Home Alabama" by Lynyrd Skynyrd references Neil Young.
- "Sweet Soul Music" by Arthur Conley references Sam and Dave, Lou Rawls, Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, James Brown.
- "Take Me Home Tonight" by Eddie Money references Ronnie Spector.
- "Telegram Sam" by T. Rex references Howlin' Wolf.
- "That Was Your Mother" by Paul Simon references Clifton Chenier.
- "Van Halen" by Nerf Herder references Van Halen and makes fun of Sammy Hagar specifically.
- "We Didn't Start the Fire" by Billy Joel references Johnnie Ray, Doris Day, Sergei Prokofiev, Arturo Toscanini, Liberace, Bill Haley & His Comets (indirectly), Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Chubby Checker, Bob Dylan, and the Beatles.
- "Welcome to the Diamond Mine" by Dickies references Jimmy Page.
- "We're the Replacements" by the Young Fresh Fellows references The Replacements.
- "When Smokey Sings" by ABC references Smokey Robinson.
- "Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes" by George Jones references Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Conway Twitty, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Charlie Rich, Hank Williams and Lefty Frizzell.
- "Wings" by The Albion Band references The Byrds.
- "XTC Vs. Adam Ant" by They Might Be Giants references XTC and Adam Ant.
- "You Get What You Give" by the New Radicals references Beck, Hanson, Courtney Love and Marilyn Manson.
- "ZZ Top Goes To Egypt" by Camper Van Beethoven references ZZ Top.
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2 See also
Songs that mention Elvis Presley