In songwriting, there's a great deal of fun to be had in the process of crafting characters to appear in songs like actors in a play.

Some are entirely fictitious, others are very much real-life people. And that includes themselves. There are plenty of instances of artists casually name-checking another band or fellow musician in a song, usually a signifier of admiration. But what about simply name-dropping yourself?

Not to be confused with self-titled songs, below we're taking a look at 49 Name-Drop Songs that you'll want to listen to closely.

1. Aerosmith, "F.I.N.E."
From: Pump (1989)

"Your daddy says I'm alright," Steven Tyler sings in 1989's "F.I.N.E.," "and the Tipper thinks I'm alright and Joe Perry says I'm alright," references to Tipper Gore, the woman in charge of the Parents Music Resource Center censorship campaign at that time, and Aerosmith's own guitarist, respectively. (Honorable Mention goes to 1985's "The Hop:" "You'll be kickin' ass tonight with the boys in Aerosmith.")


2. Alice Cooper, "Be My Lover"
From: Killer (1971)

The girl in Alice Cooper's "Be My Lover" posed the question many people were thinking at the time, with Cooper responding with a non-answer: "She asked me why the singer's name was Alice / I said 'listen baby, you really wouldn't understand.'" (Honorable Mention for 2023's "I'm Alice," where Cooper no longer feels any need to be evasive: "I'm Alice, the master of madness, the father of fright.")


3. Anthrax, "I'm the Man"
From: Among the Living (1987)

Anthrax cut right to the chase in 1987's "I'm the Man," introducing themselves in the very first line: "Now we're Anthrax and we take no shit." They also mention their own drummer, Charlie Benante: "Charlie, beat the beats, the beats you beat."


4. The B-52's, "Dance This Mess Around"
From: The B-52's (1979)

"Hey, so Fred, don't that make you feel a whole lot better, huh?Cindy Wilson asks her B-52's bandmate Fred Schneider in 1979's "Dance This Mess Around." "I say, don't that make you feel a whole lot better? / What you say? Well, I'm just askin.'"


5. The Beatles, "Glass Onion"
From: The White Album (1968)

In 1968's "Glass Onion," John Lennon answered the question many Beatles fans had been wondering for nearly a year: "I told you about the walrus and me, man / You know that we're as close as can be, man / Well, here's another clue for you all / The walrus was Paul." (Honorable Mention for Ringo Starr's enthusiastic shout-out to his bandmate on their 1964 cover of "Honey Don't:" "Ah, rock on, George, for Ringo one time!"


6. Big Star, "O My Soul"
From: Radio City (1974)

Big Star's Radio City was not exactly a hit upon its release in 1974, but its reputation developed over time. In "O My Soul," though, the band was already ruminating on fame and fortune: "I can't get a license to drive in my car / But I don't really need it if I'm a big star."


7. Billy Joel, "Piano Man"
From: Piano Man (1973)

We're not exactly sure how many people, if any, refer to Billy Joel as "Bill," but the person talking to him in "Piano Man" does it. "Bill I believe this is killing me," he says.


8. Bob Dylan, "Serve Somebody"
From: Slow Train Coming (1979)

For those unaware, Bob Dylan was born Robert Zimmerman — he legally changed it to Dylan in 1962. Close to two decades after that, Dylan name-dropped himself in "Serve Somebody:" "You may call me Bobby, you may call me Zimmy."


9. Chic, "Le Freak"
From: C'est Chic (1978)

Honestly with a band name like Chic, you simply must find a way to incorporate it somehow into a song. In "Le Freak," the title refers to a style of dance that's "c'est chic" —"it's stylish" in French.


10. Chicago, "Take Me Back to Chicago"
From: Chicago XI (1977)

It really just makes all the sense in the world that a band called Chicago from Chicago would sing about their hometown, as they did in 1977's "Take Me Back to Chicago," "where my life was free and easy." Bonus points for including Chaka Kahn as a backing vocalist.


11. The Clash, "Clash City Rockers"
From: The Clash (1977)

The Clash actually have a few different songs in which they mention themselves. First there was "Clash City Rockers" from their 1977 debut album, followed by "Rudie Can't Fail" from 1979's London Calling. And finally, "Radio Clash," a 1981 single.


12. David Bowie, "Teenage Wildlife"
From: Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) (1980)

Some have interpreted David Bowie's "Teenage Wildlife" as having to do with "Bowie imitators" so to speak, those who came up behind him utilizing similar techniques. "You'll take me aside and say 'Well, David, what shall I do? They wait for me in the hallway,'" he sings. "I'll say 'Don't ask me, I don't know any hallways.'" But as Bowie himself once put it, it was more of a self-reflective piece. "I guess it would be addressed to a mythical teenage brother if I had one," he said [via The Guardian], "or maybe my latter-day adolescent self, trying to correct those things one thinks one's done wrong."


13. Devo, "Jocko Homo"
From: Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! (1978)

"Jocko Homo" is the song from which Devo derived the title of their 1978 release, Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! By then the band had already been playing the song live for several years, encouraging audiences to participate in the call-and-response bit.


14. Exodus, "The Toxic Waltz"
From: Fabulous Disaster (1989)

In the words of Steve "Zetro" Souza, Exodus' "The Toxic Waltz" was written as something of a joke. "I didn't even think that we were going to use it," he told Songfacts. "If you read the lyrics, they're kind of silly." Those lyrics included a self-referential moment: "And this exercise helps you brutalize, with us! Exodus!"


15. Guns N' Roses, "Get in the Ring"
From: Use Your Illusion II (1991)

There's a lot going on in 1991's "Get in the Ring" by Guns N' Roses, who took the opportunity to call out a handful of music critics the band evidently deemed beneath them, Andy Secher, Mick Wall and Bob Guccione Jr. It was, as GNR apparently saw it, a battle between the two sides: "And in this corner, weighin' in at 850 pounds, Guns N' Roses."


16. Harry Chapin, "Taxi"
From: Heads & Tales (1972)

There's always something terribly tender about the reunification of old flames after decades apart, which is the premise of Harry Chapin's "Taxi:" "She said, 'How are you, Harry?' I said, 'How are you, Sue? Through the too many miles and the too little smiles I still remember you.'"


17. James Brown, "There Was a Time"
From: I Can't Stand Myself When You Touch Me (1968)

When is comes to dance moves, few performing musicians were more flexible and charismatic than James Brown. And he absolutely knew it. "But you can bet you haven't seen nothing yet," he sang in 1968's "There Was a Time," "Until you see me do the James Brown."


18. Jim Croce, "You Don't Mess Around With Jim"
From: You Don't Mess Around With Jim (1972)

Call it a veiled threat, call it a direct warning, but whatever you do around Jim Croce, let it be known: "You don't pull the mask off that old Lone Ranger / And you don't mess around with Jim."


19. The Jimi Hendrix Experience, "Fire"
From: Are You Experienced (1967)

As the story goes, Jimi Hendrix was once at his bass player Noel Redding's home in England following a New Year's Eve show. His intention was to warm himself up by the fire but Redding's family dog had apparently already claimed the spot, leading to Hendrix to utter the lines: "Aw, move over, Rover, and let Jimi take over."


20. John Lennon, "God"
From: John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band (1970)

John Lennon was not the only major recording artist to have a complicated relationship with his past work, but he was certainly one who voiced his misgivings. The strongest example of this was perhaps his 1970 song "God," in which he more or less renounces his association with people and things that were once important to him, including his old band: "I don't believe in Beatles."


21. Kid Rock, "Bawitdaba"
From: Devil Without a Cause (1998)

In case you forgot it, Kid Rock yells his name at full volume on his 1998 track "Bawitdaba:" "My name is Kiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiid, Kid Rock!" Few other recognizable English words can be found in the song.


22. King Crimson, "The Court of the Crimson King"
From: In the Court of the Crimson King (1969)

Yes, technically this song name-drops the band backwards — instead of "King Crimson" there are multiple references to "the crimson king," but it's still worthy of inclusion. "The Court of the Crimson King," which was also released as a single in 1969, was the prog group's only Hot 100 hit, reaching No. 80.


23. Kiss, "Calling Dr. Love"
From: Rock and Roll Over (1976)

In fairness, "kiss" is a pretty common word in rock lyrics, but when Kiss themselves make it a point to include, it's worthy of noting. You'll find it in 1976's "Calling Dr. Love:" "The first step of the cure is a kiss."


24. Kool and the Gang, "Hollywood Swinging"
From: Wild and Peaceful (1973)

Whoever the narrator is supposed to be on "Hollywood Swinging," they caught the bug to be in the music industry via Kool and the Gang: "I remember not too long ago / I went to the theater / And I saw the Kool and the Gang show." The song wound up a No. 6 hit on the Billboard Hot 100.


25. Leonard Cohen, "Field Commander Cohen"
From: New Skin for the Old Ceremony (1974)

"Field Commander Cohen, he was our most important spy," Leonard Cohen explains in this 1974 self-referential number, "Wounded in the line of duty." Cohen would use the phrase again five years later for the title of a live album, Field Commander Cohen: Tour of 1979.


26. Living Colour, "What's Your Favorite Color? (Theme Song)"
From: Vivid (1988)

It just makes sense to include a band theme song on your debut album, no? Living Colour's, titled "What's Your Favorite Color? (Theme Song)," appeared on 1988's Vivid. Their obvious answer: Living Colour.


27. The Mamas and the Papas, "Creeque Alley"
From: The Mamas and the Papas Deliver (1967)

The Mamas and the Papas' "Creeque Alley" is an autobiographical tune, playfully recounting the various journeys of the respective band members. "John and Mitchy were gettin' kind of itchy / Just to leave the folk music behind," the first few lines go, referring to John and Michelle Phillips. And later: "When Cass was a sophomore, planned to go to Swarthmore / But she changed her mind one day."


28. Manfred Mann, "The One in the Middle"
From: Manfred Mann (1965) (EP)

Interestingly, Paul Jones of Manfred Mann wrote "The One in the Middle" for the Yardbirds. He'd attended one of their gigs where he noticed most of the men in the audience seemed to be there for Eric Clapton, while the ladies favored Keith Relf. But when he offered the song to them, Relf swiftly declined. "He said: 'I'm not singing that, that's embarrassing,'" Jones told The Guardian in 2021. So he kept it for his own band and simply changed the names to his bandmates' in Manfred Mann.


29. Megadeth, "Set the World Afire"
From: So Far, So Good... So What! (1988)

Literally on his way home from being kicked out of Metallica, Dave Mustaine found himself reading a politcal pamphlet by the California Senator Alan Cranston which read, in part, "The arsenal of megadeath can't be rid no matter what the peace treaties come to." Initially, Mustaine wanted to use the word as the title of a song, but it ended up the name of his new band. The song Mustaine wrote was re-titled to "Set the World Afire," but it kept the same line: "The arsenal of Megadeth can't be rid of they said."


30. Metallica, "Whiplash"
From: Kill 'Em All (1983)

From the very beginning of their career, Metallica made it clear that they were going to be around for a good time and a long time. "Hotel rooms and motorways, life out here is raw," James Hetfield sang on 1983's "Whiplash," the first single from the band's debut album, "But we'll never stop, we'll never quit, 'cause we're Metallica."


31. Mother Love Bone, "Capricorn Sister"
From: Apple (1990)

Mother Love Bone released only one studio album, 1990's Apple, but it made its mark. Their name appears on the latter half of the album in a song called "Capricorn Sister:" "Motherlovebone / mama papa talkin' to me."


32. Motley Crue, "Bad Boy Boogie"
From: Girls, Girls, Girls (1987)

Don't say Motley Crue didn't warn you on 1987's "Bad Boy Boogie." They made their intentions perfectly clear: "Better lock up your daughter / When the Motleys hit the road."



33. Morrissey, "Ouija Board, Ouija Board"
From: 1989 Single

For those that aren't aware — and there's likely many — Morrissey's first and legal name is Steven, which he mentioned in his 1989 single "Ouija Board, Ouija Board." In fact, he literally spells it out: "S.T.E.V.E.N."


34. Nirvana, "Paper Cuts"
From: Bleach (1989)

It's almost hard to tell what Kurt Cobain is half-singing, half-moaning in between verses on "Paper Cuts," but listen closely and you'll notice it's his own band name over and over.


35. Pearl Jam, "Dirty Frank"
From: Ten (1991)

A month before Pearl Jam released their debut album in August of 1991, the infamous serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer was finally arrested. He would wind up pleading guilty but insane to 15 counts of murder, as well as confess to eating the body parts of several of his victims. Pearl Jam's "Dirty Frank" is not technically about Dahmer — its title is actually a reference to their bus driver, whom they were leery of and called "Dirty Frank" — but the lyrics involve a awful lot of cannibalistic references, and one that name-checks their own guitarist: "Where's Mike McCready? My god he's been ate!"


36. Pink Floyd, "Have a Cigar"
From: Wish You Were Here (1975)

"There were an awful lot of people who thought Pink Floyd was the name of the lead singer and that was Pink himself and the band," David Gilmour recalled in 1992. That confusion prompted the lyric: "The band is just fantastic, that is really what I think / Oh, by the way, which one's Pink?"


37. Prince, "My Name Is Prince"
From: Love Symbol (1992)

"My name is Prince and I am funky / My name is Prince, the one and only." Need he say more?


38. Queen, "Killer Queen"
From: Sheer Heart Attack (1974)

According to Freddie Mercury, "Killer Queen" was written about a high-class call girl, one that drinks Moet et Chandon and wears Parisian perfume. Several years after that track, Queen name-checked themselves again on "I Go Crazy," which was originally intended for the Hot Space album, but didn't make the final cut: "I don't want to go and see Queen no more."


39. Randy Newman, "My Life Is Good"
From: Trouble in Paradise (1983)

There's not too many songs out there that involve a dialogue with Bruce Springsteen, but Randy Newman's "My Life Is Good" is one of them: "He said, 'Rand, I'm tired. How would you like to be the Boss for awhile?'"


40. Robert Cray, "Nothin' But a Woman"
From: Strong Persuader (1986)

There's always something sort of humorous about an artist referring to younger versions of themselves in the third person, like Robert Cray did in 1986's "Nothin' But a Woman," which notes that "young Bob" doesn't require "drugs, whiskey, or greed." All he needs is "nothin' but a woman."


41. Sammy Hagar, "Sam I Am"
From: This Is Sammy Hagar: When the Party Started Vol. 1 (2016)

When Dr. Suess penned the line "Sam I am" for his 1960 children's book Green Eggs and Ham, there's no way he could have imagined that Sammy Hagar would use it for himself decades later. "I ain't no Superman," Hagar sings, "but Sam I am."


42. Scorpions, "Lovedrive"
From: Lovedrive (1979)

"I'd like to show why Scorpions got a sting," Klaus Meine sings on "Lovedrive" from the band's breakthrough album of the same name. It's not entirely clear whether that's a threat or a promise of a good time. It could also be both.


43. Skid Row, "Youth Gone Wild"
From: Skid Row (1989)

Naming their debut album after themselves was not quite enough for Skid Row. They dropped it again in "Youth Gone Wild," their debut single: "I said, 'Hey man, there's something you ought to know / Well, I'll tell you Park Avenue leads to Skid Row.'"


44. Steely Dan, "Show Biz Kids"
From: Countdown to Ecstasy (1973)

Steely Dan's "Show Biz Kids" is supposed to be a satirical take on entertainment culture, but you have to admit, you know you've made it in the music business when there's a whole bunch of people out there wearing shirts with your band name on them: "They got the shapely bodies / They got the Steely Dan t-shirt."


45. Stray Cats, "Stray Cat Strut"
From: Stray Cats (1981)

"Stray Cat Strut" is, of course, not an exact name-drop, but it's awfully close, and it's hard not to think of it as more or less the band's own anthem. It wound up going to No. 11 in the U.K. and No. 3 in the U.S., and its music video was shown often on MTV.


46. The Supremes, "Back in My Arms Again
From: More hits by the Supremes (1965)

Diana Ross took lead vocals on the Supremes' "Back in My Arms Again," in which she attempts to reconcile with a broken heart. Her friends, aka bandmates Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard, are of no help: "How can Mary tell me what to do / When she lost her love so true? / And Flo, she don't know / 'Cause the boy she loves is a Romeo."


47. Sweet, "Ballroom Blitz"
From: Desolation Boulevard (1974) (U.S. Version Only)

Any song that starts off with one member of the band asking the others if they're ready to go is inevitably memorable, as in the case of Sweet's big hit, "Ballroom Blitz:" "Are you ready Steve? Uh-huh / Andy? Yeah / Mick? Okay / Alright fellas, let's go!"


48. T. Rex, "Main Man"
From: The Slider (1972)

"Bolan likes to rock now / Yes he does, yes he does." Good thing, because Marc Bolan's The Slider was a big hit on both sides of the Atlantic.


49. The White Stripes, "Well It's True That We Love One Another"
From: Elephant (2003)

The second line in the White Stripes' "Well It's True That We Love One Another" — "I love Jack White like a little brother" — is particularly notable given that early in their career the duo claimed to be siblings, not romantic partners. Meg White's name is also dropped in throughout the song.

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Gallery Credit: Bryan Rolli

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