21 times bands referenced other artists in their songs
Bands were obviously fans before ever releasing any music of their own. However, instead of just sporting their favorite musicians on a tee, they have the luxury of giving them a shout-out in their lyrics. Head below for just a handful of bands referencing other artists in their songs.
Yellowcard – “With You Around”
“All I can think about is you and me driving with a Saves The Day record on/We were singing 'til our voices were gone”
“With You Around” references Saves The Day in a super-relatable one-liner about driving around and losing your voice to the music. The track is pulled from Yellowcard’s seventh full-length, When You're Through Thinking, Say Yes, which was released in 2011 — and the two bands actually embarked on a European tour later that same year. Both bands were on Warped Tour 2014, and Saves The Day guitarist Arun Bali would occasionally join Yellowcard during set-closer “Ocean Avenue.” Yellowcard frontman Ryan Key has since discussed worshipping the band’s records when he was 19 or 20 and how cool it was to have Bali play with them.
Blink-182 – “Josie”
“And my girlfriend likes UL and DHC/And she's so smart and independent, I don't think she needs me”
Written about an imaginary girlfriend, Mark Hoppus name-drops his ideal love interest’s favorite artists Unwritten Law and Dance Hall Crashers. Hoppus confirmed on his Tumblr that DHC vocalist Elyse Rogers suggested using the name Josie in reference to her own dog.
The Chainsmokers featuring Halsey – “Closer”
“Stay and play that Blink-182 song/That we beat to death in Tucson, okay”
It was truly hard to escape last summer’s ultra catchy “Closer” by electro-pop duo the Chainsmokers featuring Halsey. One lyric that stuck out, however, was Halsey’s reference to scene favorites Blink-182. It left fans asking which song they beat to death in Tucson, and the band answered that inquiry on Genius, revealing it was “I Miss You.” They also stated they had been mixing the track into their sets at the time of writing “Closer,” and they actually take songwriting inspiration from acts such as Blink and Taking Back Sunday.
Fall Out Boy – “Calm Before The Storm”
“Well there's a song on the radio that says/‘Let's get this party started’/So let's get this party started”
“Calm Before The Storm” originally appeared on Fall Out Boy’s Evening Out With Your Girlfriend EP in early 2003 before being re-recorded for their debut full-length, Take This To Your Grave, later that year. Both versions, however, include a reference to Pink’s “Get The Party Started,” a mainstream hit circa 2001. That wouldn’t be the last time FOB gave a nod to a pop singer, as Britney Spears’ “Oops!... I Did It Again” pops up in one of their latest releases, “Young And Menace” from forthcoming M A N I A. Pete Wentz revealed on Genius that the track originally had more on Spears, as he views her as a “mirror of our culture” that we built up and tore down, but he decided he didn’t feel comfortable writing about someone else’s experience, so he left it at the simple statement.
Good Charlotte – “Riot Girl”
“She's got/Tattoos/And piercings/She likes Minor Threat, she likes Social Distortion”
“Riot Girl” tells the story of a girl and her badass tendencies, describing different attributes, such as her like of Minor Threat and Social Distortion. The track is from Good Charlotte’s 2002 sophomore full-length, The Young And The Hopeless2. Back in 2003, Benji and Joel Madden discussed their love of their hometown Washington, D.C. hardcore scene, which included Minor Threat. The duo launched a label, D.C. Flag, whose name was meant to pay homage to their roots, and they mentioned Minor Threat frontman Ian MacKaye as a hero onstage and off, as the latter was helming his own Dischord Records.
Machine Gun Kelly – “Till I Die”
“Bumpin' that Bone Thugs ‘til I die, ‘til I die/In the hood, I'm good ‘til I die, C-L-E 'til I die”
Machine Gun Kelly’s love of his Cleveland roots is apparent, and in case you’ve been living under a rock, he made it even more clear with single “Till I Die” from 2015’s General Admission. In the track, he shows pride for his city, shouting out different references, including fellow Cleveland-based hip-hop act Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. A few months after the track’s initial release, MGK dropped a remix featuring the hip-hop group, as well as Ray Cash (who is also from Cleveland), Yo Gotti and French Montana.
Weezer – “Heart Songs”
“Quiet Riot got me started with the bangin' of my head/Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Slayer taught me how to shred”
Weezer might give Green Day a shout-out in their 1996 track “El Scorcho,” but it’s 2008’s “Heart Songs” that takes the cake with its endless references to artists that influenced frontman Rivers Cuomo. From Bruce Springsteen’s “Hungry Heart” to Nirvana’s Nevermind, Cuomo croons through his influences and specifically reveals that Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Slayer taught him how to shred.
Wheatus – “Teenage Dirtbag”
“’Cause I’m just a teenage dirtbag baby/I'm just a teenage dirtbag baby/Listen to Iron Maiden baby with me”
Wheatus premiered their debut single “Teenage Dirtbag” in 2000, and it is arguably their most popular to this day. The track discusses an unrequited love, with frontman Brendan B. Brown propositioning the subject to join him in listening to Iron Maiden. The inspiration behind the track came from a unique outsider experience Brown had at age 10. A satanic ritual homicide occurred near his home, and a teen suspect was arrested wearing an AC/DC shirt. Brown, who listened to music ranging from AC/DC to Iron Maiden, was looked at as a Satan worshipper following the incident, which later led to him penning the famous track.
Jimmy Eat World – “A Praise Chorus”
“I'm on my feet, I'm on the floor, I'm good to go/So come on, Davey, sing me something that I know”
Jimmy Eat World make several references to others artists’ songs in “A Praise Chorus,” including Tommy James And The Shondells’ “Crimson And Clover” (later covered by Joan Jett And The Blackhearts), “Don’t Let’s Start” by They Might Be Giants and “Kickstart My Heart” by Mötley Crüe. The track also gives a shout-out to the Promise Ring’s “Why Did Ever We Meet” and “All Of My Everythings,” and Jimmy Eat World calls upon frontman Davey von Bohlen by name after the vocalist’s cameo rattling off all of the aforementioned song references.
Bowling For Soup – “1985”
“Bruce Springsteen, Madonna/Way before Nirvana/There was U2 and Blondie/And music still on MTV”
Believe it or not, Bowling For Soup’s “1985” was actually a cover of a track originally written and recorded by Baltimore-based rock act SR-71 for their 2004 full-length Here We Go Again. There are conflicting reports as to whether BFS frontman Jaret Reddick asked SR-71 to cover it or vice versa, but either way, their version ended up on A Hangover You Don’t Deserve later that same year. Bowling For Soup changed up some of the lyrics to make it their own, but they still stayed true to the totally ’ 80s vibe of the original, with references to everyone from Springsteen to Madonna.
The Wonder Years – “Living Room Song”
“This week is gonna swallow me/But when it spits me out, I'm landing on my feet/I'm going to bed tonight in my New Found Glory hoodie”
The acoustic track “Living Room Song” is taken from the Wonder Years’ 2012 deluxe version of their 2011 full-length Suburbia I’ve Given You All And Now I’m Nothing. In it, the band give New Found Glory a shout-out, which makes total sense, as the two bands embarked on the “Pop Punk’s Not Dead” tour in late 2011. However, in 2014, the pop-punk act released a full-band version via A Comp For Mom, an assortment of tracks put together in memory of No Sleep Records’ president/founder Chris Hansen’s mother. In the updated recording, the band swaps New Found Glory for Modern Baseball, and the latter later hit the road with TWY soon after the compilation’s release.
Something Corporate – “Konstantine”
“It's to Jimmy Eat World/And those nights in my car/When the first star you see may not be a star/‘I'm not your star’/Isn't that what you said/What you thought this song meant/You thought this song meant”
Something Corporate’s “Konstantine” is a nearly 10-minute piano ballad about the ups and downs of a relationship taken from their 2003 Songs For Silent Movies EP. The track sets the scene with frontman Andrew McMahon describing a Jimmy Eat World listening session, specifically referencing lyrics from the band’s “For Me This Is Heaven” from their 1999 full-length Clarity.
Real Friends – “I Think I’m Moving Forward”
“‘Konstantine always tore me apart and made me cry/Now I hear that song and know that/I'm moving forward just like that train/I'm moving forward just like that”
In a somewhat meta moment, Real Friends make a shout-out to “Konstantine” just as Something Corporate did in the track itself with Jimmy Eat World. In an interview with Strife Magazine, Real Friends bassist Kyle Fasel revealed the importance of the Something Corporate track in his personal life. He stated he connected with it during a bad breakup and wasn’t able to listen to it for a while, but he has since experienced “emotional growth,” allowing him to listen to the track again.
Red Hot Chili Peppers – “Californication”
“And Cobain can you hear the spheres/Singing songs off Station To Station?”
The title track from Red Hot Chili Peppers’ 1999 Californication makes reference to several artists in overall relation to Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, five years after his death. Former Nirvana drummer and current Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl named the latter after the unexplained UFO-like spheres of light behind World War II aircrafts, which Genius reports is the explanation behind the lyrics’ spheres reference. The site also points out Nirvana covered David Bowie’s “The Man Who Sold The World” on their famous MTV Unplugged segment, and the Foo Fighters later covered tracks from Bowie’s Station To Station, with a conclusion being drawn that it was a tribute to the late Nirvana vocalist.
Modern Baseball – “Re-Do”
“The future freaks me out but I guess I could just curl up in a ball and think”
Modern Baseball’s 2012 full-length debut Sports features “Re-Do,” a track that guitarist/vocalist Jake Ewald told Consequence Of Sound was a “conscious, tongue-in-cheek” way to pay homage to one of their influences, Motion City Soundtrack. The track references “The Future Freaks Me Out” from Motion City Soundtrack’s own 2003 debut full-length I Am The Movie. Ewald also revealed one of the first shows he attended with fellow Modern Baseball member Brendan Lukens was a 2010 Motion City Soundtrack set, and the duo later joined members of State Champs, Real Friends, Candy Hearts and Stickup Kid for a cover of “When You’re Around.”
Moose Blood – “Bukowski”
“I'll introduce you to Clarity/Teach you the words to ‘The Sound Of Settling’”
“Bukowski” originally appeared on Moose Blood’s 2013 debut EP Moving Home before being re-released on their first full-length I'll Keep You in Mind, From Time To Time in 2014. The track makes a reference to Jimmy Eat World’s 1999 record Clarity, as well as “The Sound Of Settling” from Death Cab For Cutie’s 2003 full-length Transatlanticism. As an added bonus, Moose Blood’s “Boston” from the same record gives a nod to Brand New’s Deja Entendu.
Third Eye Blind – “Rites Of Passage”
“I wish I could help you through this phase/It's like Bowie says/You pretty young things/You go through ch-ch-changes”
Taken from 2015’s Dopamine, “Rites Of Passage” gives a nod to David Bowie and two of his tracks. In an interview with Songfacts, frontman Stephan Jenkins revealed he is moved by Bowie’s music and its ability to remain modern. While writing “Rites Of Passage,” he made up a conversation that naturally included “I wish I could help you through this phase.” The statement reminded him of Bowie’s “Oh You Pretty Things” and then “Changes,” with Jenkins describing both references as a natural fit for the track.
NOFX – “Whoa On The Whoas”
“Between AFI and the Offspring, I don't think we need anyone else to sing anymore whoas”
In 2002, NOFX dropped 45 Or 46 Songs That Weren't Good Enough To Go On Our Other Records, which consisted of 47 songs either never released or released on a compilation. Among them was “Whoa On The Whoas,” in which the band calls out AFI and the Offspring for all their “whoa”-ing. On the same record, the track “Fun Things To Fuck (If You’re A Winner)” has Fat Mike stating “Fuck fans of Blink-182/That’s illegal if you’re born in ’83,” which, at the time of its creation, would have made anyone born in ’83 over 18 as a joke that Blink’s fans are all underage.
Alkaline Trio - "We've Had Enough"
"That said, we've had enough/Put Walk Among Us on and turn it up/Ain't nothing on the airwave in the hatred we feel"
"We've Had Enough" appears on Alkaline Trio's 2003 full-length Good Mourning, and it makes a reference to the Misfits 1982 debut full-length Walk Among Us. Alkaline Trio are self-described huge Misfits fans even releasing "Dine, Dine My Darling" on 2010's This Addiction as a play on the horror punk band's 1984 single "Die, Die My Darling." That same year, frontman Matt Skiba told the Dallas Observer they can play almost any Misfits track live and have cycled through many options including "Attitude" in which drummer Derek Grant grabs the mic and Skiba hops behind the drum kit. Just this month, Alkaline Trio announced they would be opening for the Misfits lineup featuring Glenn Danzig, Jerry Only and Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein. The December Los Angeles show is the Misfits’ only 2017 show and their first since their 2016 Riot Fest reunion, which had marked the first time the lineup played together in 33 years.
Brand New - "Mix Tape"
"And I'm sick of your tattoos/and the way you always criticize the Smiths/and Morrissey"
Brand New frontman Jesse Lacey cites the Smiths and Morissey as major influences, so it's no surprise both get mentioned in "Mix Tape" from their 2001 debut, Your Favorite Weapon. It has also been revealed that leaked demo "Untitled 2" has alternate titles of "Morissey" and "1996." In the past, Lacey covered Morissey's 1994 track "Why Don't You Find Out For Yourself" and gave a shout out to the vocalist by taping "Hi Moz" across his guitar when Brand New performed "The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows" on Jimmy Kimmel Live! in 2003.
Blink-182 - "San Diego"
"I can't sleep cause what if I dream/Of going back to San Diego/We bought a one way ticket/So we can go see the Cure/And listen to our favorite songs in the parking lot/And think of every person I ever lost in San Diego"
Taken from Blink's latest, California, "San Diego" gives the Cure a shout out. Blink-182 worked with the Cure vocalist Robert Smith back in 2003 on “All Of This” for their self-titled, which features the singer and former member Tom DeLonge. DeLonge previously revealed to the Washington Post that the track was inspired by the Cure’s “Love Cats,” and they weren’t even sure Smith was going to be involved at first with how long he took to send back his vocals. Mark Hoppus has also discussed his love of the Cure and their influence on him, telling AP in #252 that “Just Like Heaven” is what started it all back in high school where he would even emulate Smith’s appearance, red lipstick and all.
What other songs should we add to the list? Sound off in the comments.