It might be hard to believe, but back in the day it was pretty difficult to know who sang the song you just heard unless either you recognised the voice, or the DJ on the radio back-announced it. Many people even got the name of the songs wrong.
As you can imagine, a combination of cluelessness and best-guesses led to an awful lot of misinformation. about songs.
As the years have gone by and technology has advanced, it’s become far less common for artists to have their songs misattributed to other musicians. However, plenty of famous songs still get credited to the wrong artist to this day.
To combat this misinformation, we’ve decided to take a look back at a handful of songs that aren’t actually by the artists people claim they’re by.
‘Stuck In The Middle With You’ is not by Bob Dylan
Released back in 1973, one of the first of many songs to be mis labeled was ‘Stuck In The Middle With You’ which quickly became a soft-rock hit that could be heard on radio stations the world over.
With somewhat poetic lyrics and a folk-inspired delivery, most people began to naturally assume this tune was actually a continuation of Bob Dylan’s ’70s period. However, it turned out that they were actually quite far off.
In fact, this track was written by Gerry Rafferty and Joe Egan of Scottish band Stealers Wheel, and was written to depict a “music industry cocktail party” of sorts.
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However, the mistake is actually quite forgivable when you get down to it, considering that Rafferty explained he had consciously penned this track to be a parody of Bob Dylan’s paranoia.
Check out Stealers Wheel’s ‘Stuck In The Middle With You’ which gets confused with Bob Dylan’s songs:
‘Bitch’ is not by Alanis Morissette
Back in 1995, Alanis Morisette released her iconic record Jagged Little Pill. Full of alt-rock classic songs, and featuring Alanis’ furious and relatable lyrics, the album was a chart-topping smash, and showed a generation of aspiring female musicians that they didn’t have to shy away from rock music.
As a result though, a number of female artists from this era tended to get mistaken for Morisette, including US rocker Meredith Brooks. Releasing her debut album, Blurring The Edges, in 1997, the record was bolstered by the success of catchy lead single ‘Bitch’.
While Brooks would sadly end up becoming something of a one-hit wonder, ‘Bitch’ quickly became associated with Alanis Morisette’s style, and by the time Chris Franklin had released his parody of the track (titled ‘Bloke’, no less), Brooks’ name was almost erased from the musical history books.
Check out Meredith Brooks’ ‘Bitch’ that gets confused with Alanis Morrisette songs:
‘Cats In The Cradle’ is not by Cat Stevens
‘Cats In The Cradle’ being attributed to Cat Stevens is almost a perfect storm of events.
First, there’s the fact the song sounds like a typical Cat Stevens song, then there’s the fact it has the word ‘cat’ in the title, and finally, the fact that Stevens released a compilation called Cat’s Cradle just three years after the song was recorded.
However, despite the facts going against it, ‘Cats In The Cradle’ was actually written and performed by New York musician Harry Chapin, becoming his best-known track in the process.
Sadly, Chapin would pass away in 1981, with Cat Stevens’ music becoming far more popular and well-known in the following years, and allowing this example of misattribution to take place.
Check out Harry Chapin’s ‘Cats In The Cradle’ that gets confused with Cat Stevens songs:
‘No Matter What’ is not by The Beatles
In early 1970, The Beatles released their final album Let It Be. Closing with the rockin’ ‘Get Back’, the group’s sound was rather distinct, leaving it almost impossible for anyone to mix up the band with anyone else.
Unfortunately, late 1970 also happened to see fellow Englishman Badfinger release their third album, No Dice. Released on The Beatles’ Apple Records and featuring the single ‘No Matter What’, listeners began to wonder if this was the Fab Four reunited, or if it was a solo project by one of them.
To make things more confusing, Badfinger actually took their name from a working title of a Beatles song, and guitarist Pete Ham played a Gibson SG which was given to him by none other than George Harrison, making it almost seem as if they were trying to mess with us at some point.
Check out Badfinger’s ‘No Matter What’:
‘A Horse With No Name’ is not by Neil Young
Ask anyone about the track ‘A Horse With No Name’, and apart from laughing at the ridiculousness of the line “the heat was hot”, they’ll likely tell you that Neil Young was the musician in charge of this track. Sadly, they would be mistaken, but understandably so.
In fact, Dewey Bunnell of folk-rockers America has recognised not only the fact that fans believe it to have been a Neil Young song, but also the fact he was influenced by the Canadian rocker in terms of not only songwriting, but vocal delivery as well.
To make things even more confounding, when ‘A Horse With No Name’ hit #1 on the US charts, it just so happened to replace the track ‘Heart Of Gold’, performed by none other than Neil Young.
Check out America’s ‘A Horse With No Name’:
‘The Freshmen’ is not by Third Eye Blind
Upon its release, The Verve Pipe’s ‘The Freshmen’ only hit #28 on the Aussie charts, making it a relatively forgettable song, and leaving many to confuse them with English rockers The Verve, who would release ‘Bittersweet Symphony’ only months later.
Around the world though, ‘The Freshmen’ happens to get lumped into the discography of Third Eye Blind, whose sound is undoubtedly similar. Oddly though, ‘The Freshmen’ also happens to sound a little like Third Eye Blind’s ‘Slow Motion’, a controversial number that was supposed to be released in 1999.
Frankly, with a sound and name that is reminiscent of bands that hit the big time months after The Verve Pipe, we can’t help but feel as though they got the short end of the stick in this case.
Check out The Verve Pipe’s ‘The Freshmen’:
‘Ketchup In The Fridge’ is not by Radiohead
In fact, that’s not even its name.
Back in 2011, an anonymous poster appeared on the online imageboard 4Chan to share an unreleased Radiohead track they had come into possession of. Titled ‘Ketchup In The Fridge’, the track was supposedly written during recording sessions for The Bends and was subsequently left of the album.
Listening to the track, the story was believable, as it sounds almost exactly like tunes such as ‘Fake Plastic Trees’, and features the same sort of composition and chorus style that a Radiohead track would. The only problem was that this was not even close to being written by Thom Yorke and co.
Rather, when the song’s discovery began to make headlines around the world, it brought Canadian musician Christopher Stopa out of the woodwork, who shared his own studio version of the track (which he had titled ‘Sit Still’), putting an end to the mystery.
Let’s be fair though, Stopa probably sounds more like Radiohead ever could, making this one pretty successful troll.
Check out Christopher Stopa’s ‘Sit Still’ that gets confused with Radiohead songs:
‘Stacy’s Mom’ is not by Bowling For Soup
Well… at least not at first…
By the time ‘Stacy’s Mom’ was released as a single, Fountains Of Wayne had been rockin’ out for about eight years. Sadly, this track happened to appear around the same time that the similar-sounding Bowling For Soup had begun to gain a bit of traction.
Due to their relatively close sound, and similarly-worded band name, ‘Stacy’s Mom’ was quickly credited to Bowling For Soup for quite some time.
However, Bowling For Soup decided not to run away from this comparison and embraced it instead, eventually covering the track during their live sets, and releasing a studio version of the tune in 2011.
Still get the songs confused?
Check out Fountains Of Wayne’s ‘Stacy’s Mom’ that gets confused as Bowling For Soup songs:
‘Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress’ is not by Creedence Clearwater Revival
If you don’t know much about Creedence Clearwater Revival, you might at least know about their abilities to make catchy swamp rock songs fronted by the inimitable vocals of John Fogerty.
However, just months before CCR released their final album, Mardi Gras, The Hollies burst back onto the charts with their biggest single in three years.
Designed as a style imitation of CCR and the swamp rock genre, ‘Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress’ was pretty far removed from The Hollies’ regular style, with a lack of harmonies and a much harder vibe than usual.
As it turned out, their imitations ended up being a little too perfect, with casual fans chalking this one up to being written by John Fogerty and co.
Check out The Hollies’ ‘Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress’:
‘Teenage Dirtbag’ is not by Weezer
Not at first, anyway…
By 2000, California alt-rockers Weezer had been taking a few years off following the release of their second album, Pinkerton. With a penchant for making what some folks described as “nerdy” rock music, it was just bad luck when a similarly-named group unleashed a track that wasn’t exactly dissimilar to Weezer’s sound.
Yes, releasing ‘Teenage Dirtbag’ in July of 2000, New York’s Wheatus found their well-deserved success being credited to Weezer for quite some time. Thanks in part to Wheatus’ all-too-short brush with mainstream success and Weezer’s first album in five years being released the next year, it was a perfect storm of confusion.
However, the whole situation is even more confusing these days. Back in 2011, Weezer addressed this incident by covering ‘Teenage Dirtbag’, while Wheatus returned the favour by covering ‘My Name Is Jonas’, making the songs even more confusing.
Throw Fountains Of Wayne and Bowing For Soup on that concert lineup and our heads will be spinning.
Check out Wheatus’ ‘Teenage Dirtbag’:
‘Music Sounds Better With You’ is not by Daft Punk
Back in early 1997, French music legends Daft Punk burst onto the scene with their debut album, Homework. Critically-beloved, the record spawned four singles with the last, ‘Revolution 909’, being released in February of 1998.
Months later though, a new song made its way onto the airwaves, with a sound not dissimilar to Daft Punk. The track was titled ‘Music Sounds Better With You’, and mixed a Chaka Khan sample into a familiar-sounding house track to create the band’s only single to date.
While many soon began to associate this track to fellow Frenchmen Daft Punk, it turns out that they weren’t too far off. See, while Daft Punk consists of Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, Bangalter also popped up in Stardust, this time working with Alan Braxe and Benjamin Diamond.
Maybe what this tells us is that Thomas Bangalter is the one that makes Daft Punk sound like, well… Daft Punk?
Check out Stardust’s ‘Music Sounds Better With You’:
‘Half The Man I Used To Be’ is not by Nirvana
In fact, that’s not even its name.
This is one that can be chalked up to the days of Limewire. After all, back in the day when seemingly every song parody was by “Weird Al” Yankovic, almost every ’90s grunge hit was similarly found to be credited to icons of the genre, Nirvana.
As such, ‘Half The Man I Used To Be’ is one track that gets thrown around quite a lot as being by the Seattle rockers, when in fact, it’s slow, acoustified grungeness (that’s a real term, trust us) was in fact ‘Creep’ by California’s Stone Temple Pilots.
While ‘Creep’ never hit the same heights as anything by Nirvana, it served as the final single from Stone Temple Pilots’ first record, and remains a beloved track by fans.
To make things a bit more challenging though, referring to this early ’90s track by name can end up being confusing for some music-lovers, with Radiohead’s breakthrough hit of the same name being released all of eight days earlier, these songs are easily mistaken.