Top 10 Best Named Songs
Script written by Aaron Cameron. Never judge a song by its title, or a title by its song. For this list, we’re choosing songs with unique titles and ignoring overly obscure, goofy or novelty tracks, or songs that are just downright offensive. And while the song quality is not the main criteria for our choices, it is a consideration that’s mixed in with the story behind the title and how much it stands out. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 best named songs. Special thanks to our user akt for submitting the idea on our Suggest Page at WatchMojo.com/suggest
Never judge a song by its title, or a title by its song. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 best named songs.
For this list, we’re choosing songs with unique titles and ignoring overly obscure, goofy or novelty tracks, or songs that are just downright offensive. And while the song quality is not the main criteria for our choices, it is a consideration that’s mixed in with the story behind the title and how much it stands out.
#10: “Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution” (1981)
Following the death of lead singer Bon Scott, the band briefly considered breaking up before regrouping around new singer Brian Johnson. Although every song on the Back in Black album proved the band could continue after Scott, this one more than the others cementedd that stance. Defiant against critics of all kinds, the hard rock and blues rock track was also the album’s highest charting single, hitting #15 in the UK, and gaining a ton of pollution-free airplay.
#9: “Riders on the Storm” (1971)
Never mind the rainfall-like electric piano or the spooky whispered vocals, this title is a story unto itself, as it’s reportedly based on the late Jim Morrison’s life. In fact, the title of L.A. Woman song was so strong it became the band’s name when guitarist Robby Krieger and keyboardist Ray Manzarek were denied usage of The Doors name following Morrison’s death.
#8: “Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town” (1993)
According to front man Eddie Vedder, this song gained its lengthy title due to him growing bored with the band’s usual one-word titles. Descriptive and visual, the title sets the tone and nature of the story before it ever even begins and can almost be considered a casting call. Vedder claims he never physically wrote the lyrics to the song down, but instead sang out the story while demoing it. Twenty minutes later, the demo was complete – and the result is an acoustic delight that hit the top 40 on the American rock tracks charts.
#7: “Champagne Supernova” (1996)
It may not make sense, but then it kinda does – this title perfectly matches not only to the swirling, and psychedelic music of this Oasis song but also its poetic and artful lyrics. The title is also in tune with the spinning out of body feeling of drunkenness or the dizzy, heavy-headiness of a hangover. Meanwhile, the song itself was a top 10 hit on the American rock tracks charts. Songwriter Noel Gallagher also gained extra mileage from the title, naming both his home and his signature Epiphone guitar model after the song.
#6: “Peace Sells” (1986)
Driven to write metal songs that were more socially and politically aware, Dave Mustaine lifted this song’s title from a Reader’s Digest article discussing then-current Cold War politics. That piece, titled “Peace Would Sell But No One Would Buy It” also lent itself to the album’s full title Peace Sells...But Who’s Buying? Homeless while working on the album, Mustaine wrote the song’s lyrics with a marker on the wall of the band’s rehearsal space. Despite its humble beginnings, the track is now a live staple and metal standard.
#5: “Bullet with Butterfly Wings” (1995)
Sure, it’s home to a bagful of awesome riffs, and Billy Corgan’s overwrought “it sucks to be famous” lyrics but it’s that title pulls you right in. Is it a friendly bullet? A mean butterfly? Both? Violent and peaceful, it’s a strange combination that creates a powerful image of...something. While not mentioned in the lyrics, the title still manages to sum up the song and tells the listener that this will not be your average alt-rock song – and the fact it was the band’s first Top 40 on the Hot 100 proves it.
The Smashing Pumpkins
#4: “Comfortably Numb” (1979)
The song may contain two of the greatest guitar solos of all time, but even on its own, that title is a slice of fried gold. “Comfortably Numb” was actually based on a real incident where bassist Roger Waters was in pain and was subsequently pumped full of tranquilizers to get through a live show. While a perfect match to the subject and feel of the song, the Waters-Gilmour co-write was originally titled “The Doctor” owing to its role and placement in the storyline of its parent album, The Wall.
#3: “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (1991)
Together, those four words were strong enough to launch a career, create an icon, and revolutionize modern music. They also coulda helped sell a lot of pit-stick. Kurt Cobain had the idea for the title when a friend wrote “Kurt smells like teen spirit” on his wall. Cobain thought she was giving serious props to his legit, rebellious outlook and not the fact that he smelled like his girlfriend’s deodorant of the same name. Context is everything, kids! Not that it mattered too much, considering the alt-rock legacy this song has left.
#2: “I Am the Walrus” (1967)
“Now here’s another clue for you all - the walrus was Paul.” Written to both confuse and mock people who read too deeply into Beatles lyrics, the title of this song is the perfect bait. That John Lennon modelled the melody after a police siren and threw in random literary references at will only sweetens the deal.
Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
- “Everytime I Eat Vegetables It Makes Me Think of You” (1983)
- “Is It Progression If a Cannibal Uses a Fork?” (2007)
- “You Know What They Do to Guys Like Us In Prison” (2004)
My Chemical Romance
- “Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow” (1974)
- “Rock Lobster” (1978)
#1: “Our Lawyer Made Us Change the Name of This Song So We Wouldn’t Get Sued” (2005)
Fall Out Boy is known for ear-catching titles like “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark,” but this one’s 15-word moniker is both lengthy and accurate. Not to mention it was far-and-away your most voted pick on our Suggestion Poll. A song about fame, the original title “My Name Is David Ruffin and These Are The Temptations” is a nod to Ruffin’s desire to rename the Motown vocal group after himself. This desire, along with other questionable behaviour, instead led to his dismissal. While we have no comment on whether lawsuits would have been drawn, the late singer’s estate did sue NBC and others for the depiction of his death in a mini-series based on The Temptations – so maybe the boys were smart to heed their lawyer’s advice.
Fall Out Boy
Do you agree with our list? What’s your favorite song title? For more titular Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.