We all make mistakes. We're all human beings, right? We're hardly infallible creatures. Yet somehow, we tend to be slightly less infallible when it comes to correctly identifying who performed our favorite songs. Back in the old days, it was a common dilemma - listening to the radio, if someone heard a Badfinger song that sounded like the Beatles, they'd easily just assume it was the Beatles. If someone heard "Jack and Diane" over and over and over, they might just convince themselves that it was a new Springsteen song. Sure, it might sound all innocent and naive, but try to correct these people and they would defend - to the DEATH - that Poison did "Cherry Pie," or that Neil Young did "A Horse With No Name." Once someone stamps it into their head that so-and-so band did so-and-so song, it becomes very hard to tell them otherwise.
"But Sean!" you might say. "It's the 2000s! The Information Age! We can look up any song lyrics we like in a matter of seconds! Surely this confusion must be extinct!" Man, I would like to believe that, but somehow the internet has just made things worse. In the age of P2P networks and iTunes, rampant file sharing has made it all the easier to mislabel a song and spread that mistake like wildfire. Just the other day I had to tell my friend - as politely as possible - that "Black Hole Sun" was not, in fact, recorded by the Stone Temple Pilots. Apparently I, an obnoxious music nerd, am the only person in the world that cares about labeling songs correctly! IS THAT SO WRONG??
But don't you worry. I am here to clear the omnipresent fog, remove the confusion that has plagued you all for so long. Without further adieu, here are six songs that I see constantly mislabeled, along with the band that actually performed the song. Just to make things 100% clear, I will link to a Youtube video for each song proving, without a doubt, that said artist did said song. As a lonely music nerd, it is one of the few things I am actually good at, and I feel it is my duty as an American to dispel the spread of misinformation at all costs.
So please. Adjust your iTunes tags accordingly.
"Stuck In The Middle With You" by Stealer's Wheel... or Bob Dylan?
We'll start with a reasonable one. This is a pretty common misconception, but it's easily debunked. This song is by an early 70's pop duo called Stealer's Wheel. The dude's voice sounds a lot like Bob Dylan's, but it's a bit more tuneful and a bit less interesting, so it's not that hard to tell that it ain't good old Bob.
An even easier de-bunking comes from Reservoir Dogs, where the song was played during the infamous "ear-cutting" scene. Heck, their explanation of the song is so good that I didn't bother to find a video of the actual band performing the song and just linked to that scene. They even call it "Dylanesque." So there you go.
"I've Seen Better Days" by Citizen King... or Sublime?
This one's worse than I thought. I searched for this song on Youtube, thinking naively to myself, "Oh yeah, they'll have that Citizen King video! The one with them in the mall! Everybody knows that video!"
But nope. Instead I find a bunch of videos with the song playing over a picture of Sublime, usually with the info saying something like "I thought this was Sublime, but it's not, sorry!" The video I've been forced to link to is a sad example of this trend, to the point where the guy who posted it had to disable comments after waves upon waves of people claimed it was a Sublime song.
See, I'd never heard of Sublime when "I've Seen Better Days" came out. In fact, by the time this song came out, Sublime lead singer Bradley Nowell had been dead for three years. So not only did Sublime not originally record this song, they never even covered it. Citizen King were simply some one-hit-wonder Johnny-Come-Lately from the late 90's that happened to sound kinda like them. That's it.
So please, let this one die. Not just for me. For Bradley.
"Low Rider" by War... or ZZ Top?
OK, now we're dipping into silly territory. ZZ Top were not a tootin' gootime horn band, OK? Don't we all know this by now? They were a bunch of crazily bearded men who played poppy blues-rock like "La Grange" and "Legs" and "Gimme All Your Lovin'." THEY USED GUITARS MAN NOT FUCKIN' CORNY-POO HORNS.
Really though, this song does not sound like ZZ Top. At all. Ok, MAYBE the vocals but that's it. THAT'S IT.
Well, there still is some room for confusion. Even the infallible Wikipedia places ZZ Top at the end of a long list of artists that have covered the song. But man, search around for ZZ Top's so-called "cover" of the song and all you'll come up with is the original War version. Mislabeled. I'm starting to believe it doesn't exist.
...nah, screw it. It doesn't exist.
"Breakfast At Tiffany's" by Deep Blue Something... or Hootie & The Blowfish?
Oh come on now people. Hootie and the fuckin' Blowfish did this song?? REALLY? No no, jeez. JEEZ. Listen to a Hootie song and then listen to this song. One has a low-voiced black man singing, the other a nasally snarky white man. HOW CAN YOU CONFUSE THIS SHIT WHAT THE HELL.
OK, to be fair, this song is more commonly mislabeled as a Barenaked Ladies song, which makes three-fucking-billion-metric-tons more sense than Hootie and the Blowfish. Hell, for a decent amount of time even I was convinced this was a Barenaked Ladies track 'cause they sound so fuckin' similar! The self-deprecating lyrics, the stupid melody, the 90's irony - everything. So please! People! If you're going to mislabel this song, do it right!! We don't want Darius Rucker responsible for this shit.
So to clarify: this is a Deep Blue Something song. Yes, they were another one-hit wonder that nobody gives a shit about anymore. (Noticing a trend here?)
OK, in terms of music this is probably the most ridiculous on this list. But I assure you, it's slim pickens compared to the last two on this list. Prepare yourselves.
"Roll To Me" by Del Amitri... or the Spin Doctors?
This one so bad that not only have people gotten the band wrong, they've even come up with their own NAME for the song. If you're curious, Google "Spin Doctors + Pretty Baby + lyrics" and you will get the lyrics for this song. This one is so phenomenally widespread, actually, that the Spin Doctors themselves were forced to rebuke it on their Myspace page. Probably after countless stoned teenagers at their concerts keep shouting "PRETTY BABY! PLAY 'PRETTY BABY'!!" (This, of course, is assuming teenagers still think the Spin Doctors are cool.)
I mean, that's kind of insulting, isn't it? If it's like "Freebird!" or something, everyone knows it's a joke. But if it's a song that people think you did that you CLEARLY didn't do, it shows that said person doesn't give a shit about the band enough to learn what songs they've done. Not to mention that this is so widespread, they must have to hear about it a lot. Come on, you guys. The Spin Doctors aren't exactly on top of the world right now. Give 'em a break.
It's funny, because this song doesn't sound all that much like the Spin Doctors. Del Amitri were a British pop-rock band, pretty different in attitude from a laid-back early-90's jam-band. The song is a pretty tightly constructed sweet pop hit, as opposed to say "Two Princes" or "Little Miss Can't Be Wrong" which were loose, jammy guitar hits. And as far as vocals go? Not too similar!
So again! To clarify! The song "Pretty Baby" by the Spin Doctors doesn't exist. DELETE IT OR RENAME IT OR EMAIL THE SPIN DOCTORS AN APOLOGY FOR SPREADING DIRTY DIRTY RUMORS.
"All For You" by Sister Hazel... or Blues Traveler?
Oh God no. My secret shame. No no. No. It's happening all over again.
Years. YEARS of searching for this so-called "Blues Traveler" song. "Hey, it sounds like that song 'Run-Around'!" I thought to myself foolishly. "Shit, I bet it was even on the same album!"
But it wasn't on the same album as "Run-Around," Four. "Oh, well, my bad," I thought. "But it must be on another album of theirs! Duhh! Lemme check through their discography - I'm sure it'll pop up."
But "All For You" was nowhere to be found. Not on Save His Soul, not on Straight On Till Morning, not even on Bridge. But I wouldn't back down! Oh no! "It must be a B-side!" I thought to myself, sinking deeper and deeper into delusion. "A single that wasn't on an album! It's probably on a compilation or something. I just won't worry about it."
And there it sat in my iTunes for years: "Blues Traveler - All For You." It sat there like a festering cancerous cell, spreading and tainting my entire collection. Then all the sudden - as soon as a week ago - I heard about this band "Sister Hazel" that did this song in the 90's called "All For You."
Then it all made sense. Reality came crashing down. That John Popper harmonica solo I always recalled when thinking about "All For You" was really in "Run-Around" - "All For You" just has a guitar solo. Actually, upon closer inspection, "All For You" has no harmonica. NO GODDAMNED HARMONICA. IT WAS ALL IN MY HEAD.
How could this happen? How could I be so idiotically fooled?? IT'S THE INTERNET'S FAULT. I searched for "All For You - Blues Traveler Lyrics" and I got results. And like a fool, I believed them. I did it. I DID IT.
I'm sorry everyone. I'm... I'm sorry.