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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Say My Name

At one point in my life, I hated when song titles/lyrics mentioned people's names. Songs such as "Jessie's Girl" and "Hey Mickey" annoyed me for some reason. By referencing people I don't know personally, I felt like the music artist was somehow limiting my accessibility to the song.

In recent years I've realized this doesn't make any sense. And now I actually like name-dropping in song titles!

So for this Monday Music Moment, I will go over some of my favorite songs that have people's names in the title!

"Sara" - by Fleetwood Mac
Everyone already knows that one of my all-time favorite Fleetwood Mac's song is "Rhiannon." So for this MMM I chose another song that is named after a person. In "Sara," Stevie Nick's is apparently singing about a wide array of subjects, including her relationship with Don Henley, an abortion, other members of the band, and her affair with Mick Fleetwood. The version of the song that appears on Tusk is only 4:39, but there are many extended versions of the song (one that runs 14 minutes!). I love this song because it builds gradually as the other members come in until Stevie finally belts it out at the end.

"Daniel" - by Bat For Lashes
A few months ago, I'd never heard of Bat for Lashes. When I stumbled across a music blog that featured a clip of "Daniel," I listened and fell in love. "Daniel" is the type of moody, atmospheric song that I feel a lot of artists are trying to make today, but do poorly. Well Natasha Khan (who reminds me of Katie Holmes) gets it right. I love this song because Ms. Khan wrote it about someone she imagined and then fell in love with (what?) and because the opening lines prepare me for the awesomeness of the rest of the song: "Daniel / When I first saw you / I knew that you had / A flame in your heart."

"Jesus Christ" - by Brand New
I didn't know whether it was fair to include this one, but hey, Jesus is a name after all. I am forever in debt to my friend Josh for introducing me to this song. "Jesus Christ" is the kind of haunting song that can be played on repeat when you're depressed (aka, my favorite kind of music). I love the lyrics, the lead singer's vocal performance, and the way the song progresses into the very powerful ending. Plus, Ross and I play this song together on guitar (I do the easy, repetitive part obviously).

"Jenny Was A Friend of Mine" - by The Killers
"Jenny" opens The Killers' first CD Hot Fuss and I think it was a great choice as the first track, as it prepares you for the sound of the rest of the CD. I loved the song from the first time I heard it many years ago. And while I always liked the lyrics, I apparently didn't pay enough attention to them.... Just last year, my friend Jenna mentioned how the song is about murder! I quickly went through the lyrics in my head and realized she was right. How did I not notice?? Is this where the band got their name from? I don't know, but now I like the song even more. (Note: The Killers love using names in their song titles, as tracks such as "Andy You're A Star" and "Uncle Johnny" almost made this list!)

"Samson" - by Regina Spektor
My second bible-inspired song is not only one of my favorite songs with a name in the title, but one of my favorite songs ever. "Samson" is a heartbreaking song narrated by Delilah, the prostitute who cuts Samson's hair and thereby strips him of his power. While Delilah could be seen as an villain in some cases, in "Samson" she sounds like a normal woman with a broken heart, which makes this another one of those depressing songs I like so much.

Runners Up: "Me and Mr. Jones" by Amy Winehouse, "If You Seek Amy" by Britney Spears, "Amie" by Damien Rice, "Oedipus" by Regina Spektor, "Iris" by The Goo Goo Dolls, "Judas" by Kelly Clarkson, "Annie" by V. Carlton, "Jolene" by The Weepies.


Chris D. said...

Neat songs! My favorites are Jesus Christ, Daniel, and Samson. I am not fond of songs where the band feels the need to give a shout-out to... themselves! It is just so unnecessary. However that's not to say I dislike intelligent self-referential lyrics that further the song.

It has occurred to me that while we have seen video of you singing, I don't think we have seen you playing guitar yet. You should totally make a video of you playing guitar while singing. Let me know if you desire any technical (recording, not musical) assistance. I have a digital multi-track recorder, an HD video camera, and a couple of microphones. It would be good practice for me for an upcoming video project. My kit is portable, so we could shoot anywhere. Let me know if you are interested.

Ryan said...

The first thought I had after seeing the title of this post was an image of Enrico saying "Say my name, bitch." I don't know what that says about me, but I found it funny.

According to, my favorite song with a name in it is Eddie's Song by Son of Dork at #27. The next one is Who's David by Busted at #169. Mr. Brightside and Clark Gable are in between, but I don't think they count. I must not like songs with people's names in the titles.

Jere Keys said...

What about Rico Suave?

Being a musical theatre nerd, I jump to songs like "Everything's Coming up Roses" from Gypsy and "Maria" from West Side Story as examples.

Michelle M. said...

I like ELton John's "Daniel" and "Sara Smile" by Hall and Oates also.

The worst name song I can think of is "Come On Eileen". Torture.

john said...

Jere: LOL! Rico Suave!

Michelle: I immediately thought of "Daniel" by Elton John as well.

I'll submit for your approval:
"Yes, Anastasia" & "Talula" by Tori Amos,
"The World Before Columbus" by Suzanne Vega, "Fernanado" & "Chiquitta" by ABBA,
"Christine" by Souixsie & The Banshees,
"Rowena's Theme" by Edge, "Rakim" by Dead Can Dance,
"Quiche Lorraine" & "Debbie" by The B-52's,
"While Mac Was Swimming" by The Innocence Mission and
"Proud Mary" by Ike & Tina Turner.

That is probably enough.

Anonymous said...

Hey there Delilah!! I love that song!!


Polt said...

LURVE me some "Sara"! Perhaps I like it even better than "Rhiannon"!

I also like "Jane" by The Jefferson Starship. Butcha know, I don't really listen to what the lyrics are talking about most of the time, so I had no IDEA 'Sara' was about all that stuff!! :)


john said...

How could I forget "Josh Likes Me" by Mom. And speaking of the Trashy One, where's his list?

Enrico: Stevie Nicks did anotehr song with the name Sarah: Welcome To The Room Sarah. I think it is on Tango in the Night.

David said...

"Sara" was the only song in this whole listing that I'd ever heard of, let alone listened to. I don't even recognize most of the bands, but I do know the Killers.

Thanks for making me feel super duper old.

Michelle M. said...

David - If it makes you feel any better, Sara was the only song I knew also.

I listened to "Caroline" and "Joey" by Concrete Blonde today.

that's J-O-S-H said...

I love that you lurve "Jesus Christ"...introducing you to it was one of my greatest accomplishmentz. And is there more to life than trying to survive?!

Nathan v said...

I was mostly always just bitter that there aren't any songs with the name Nathan in it. The only real affection I have for Guys and Dols is the fact that the one guys name is Nathan, so sometimes his name is mentioned in song.

hoteltuesday said...

Chris: I love when Mariah mentions herself. Like in "Don't Forget About Us" when she says: "I bet she can't do it like me!! She'll never be MC!!"
And don't worry, I'll be posting a video of me playing guitar/singing eventually...

Ryan: "Jesus Christ" is my #6 (!) and "Samson" is my #10. And why would "Clark Gable" not count? I'd count it.

Jere: "Rose's Turn"!?!? How'd I forget that. That was amazing.

Michelle M.: I always think I should go listen to old Elton John.

John: "Proud Mary"! Good one. I just watched What's Love Got To Do With It the other day. Love that movie. And yeah, I know "Welcome... Sara." Tango in the Night is one of my all-time favorite records ("Big Love" is amazing!) but "Welcome..." is one of my least favorite tracks on the record.

David: You don't know Regina Spektor??? Please listen.

Nathan: There are 0 songs in my iTunes library that include 'Nathan.' If it makes you feel better, there are also 0 that include 'Enrico.'

hoteltuesday said...

TJ: Eww... that song was soooo overplayed. I know all the words and never even listened to it for my own enjoyment.

Polt: Well, you wouldn't know it was about that really without hearing it from Stevie. I'm crazy and watched all the interviews with her that I could find on YouTube.

And what?! Sara > Rhiannon?! No way!

Bradford Pearson said...

How about "A Boy Named Sue" by Johnny Cash?

Ryan said...

I didn't think it should count because Clark Gable is not some person that I don't know but that the artist does. Both the artist and I know Clark Gable only as a part of our culture.

john said...

Nathan: Bananarama has a song called "Nathan Jones".

Enrico: "Big Love" is a fantastic song. Welcome to the Room Sarah" is one of my least favorite from that cd.

Tam said...

I'm such a music idiot. I can barely remember from one second to the next who plays what song on the radio. In one ear and out the other. I'm sure I must have some songs.

- Emily by Bowling for Soup.
- Barbie Girl? Does that count? Although its more of a description than a name per se.
- Check Yes Juliet by We Three Kings.
- Dr. Jones. Aqua again.
- Ryan already mentioned Eddie's Song.
- Oh yeah, Val Kilmer by Bowling for Soup. Funny Song.
- Romeo and Juliet by Taylor Swift (not on my ipod but my daughter's)

Flipping through my ipod that's all I found. Maybe have more at home.

hoteltuesday said...

Bradford: Never heard that.

John: I usually am not a huge Christine fan, but she's great on Tango. "Everywhere" and "Little Lies" are great and "Isn't It Midnight" is one of my favorite tracks on the album. In fact, the only Stevie song I like on Tango is "Seven Wonders." :O

Tam: Taylor Swift also has "Hey Stephen," but that's my least favorite song on Fearless. I love every other song though!

john said...

Tam: Doctor Jones and Check Yes Juliet are two of my favorite songs!

Ryan said...

john: I forgot about Check Yes Juliet. I love that song.

Chris D. said...

I don't take issue with that example in the Mariah song. However, I would dislike it if it were like, "I bet she can't do it like _Mariah_...". I don't dislike self referential lyrics, just self referential lyrics by name.

Ryan said...

I just listened to Britney by Busted. It reminded me triply of Enrico.

Tam said...

My daughter and I always mock those "artists" who feel the need to keep mentioning their own name during a song. Yeah, we get it, you're famous. If you were so famous you wouldn't need to say your name during the song would you? You didn't Elvis throwing in a "Elvis is in the house" every other stanza did you? Worse, those who feel the need to tattoo their name in 6 inch letters somewhere on their body. Ummm. In case you forget who you are? So the chick you're with knows what name to call out? What?

Tam said...

Oh and John? I'm not really surprised those are two of your favourite songs. Umm. They're mine so stands to reason ... :-)

john said...

Tam: I really need to get to Canada one of these days and bask in the glory.

Michelle M. said...

Geez - I know you just started school and education is important and junk, but it's been 10 days! Maybe you could post a photo of RP to tide us (or at least me) over...