10 classic songs that don't mention the song title in the lyrics

2 July 2022, 20:00

The cryptic lyrics of Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen
The cryptic lyrics of Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen. Picture: CBW / Alamy Stock Photo

A Day In The Life? That “Galileo” song? Which other classics don't even have their titles in the chorus... or anywhere else for that matter.

  1. Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody

    If this legendary song was called “Galileo! Galileo!”, would it have been as successful? Instead, the words “Bohemian Rhapsody” are more abstract, evoking the ponderous mood of the song.

  2. The Beatles - A Day In The Life

    John Lennon wrote the verses to this Fabs classic while reading the daily newspaper. The title sums up the random snippets of experience in the song, and also Paul McCartney’s descriptive contribution in the middle.

  3. Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit

    Teen Spirit, of course, being an American deodorant that Kurt Cobain’s girlfriend wore. Kurt didn’t know this, so when his friend Kathleen Hanna spray painted the words “Kurt Smells Like Teen Spirit” on a wall, he thought it referred to how punk rock he was.

  4. New Order - Blue Monday

    The band’s second album was almost called How Does It Feel? after the first line of this song, but they changed it to Power Corruption and Lies. The words were always the last thing to be created for a New Order track: see also Bizarre Love Triangle, True Faith, Thieves Like Us, Temptation, etc etc.

  5. David Bowie - Space Oddity

    Bowie’s 1969 hit was an obvious pun on the recently-released movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, but the tale of Major Tom doesn’t mention the title at all.

  6. Editors - Munich

    Featuring on their 2005 debut album, The Back Room, the single mentions absolutely nothing else about the German city, but we still can't imagine it being called People Are Fragile.

  7. The Smiths - How Soon Is Now?

    Originally a B-side of the 1984 single, William It Was Really Nothing, How Soon Is Now? explores both longing and unrequited love, but actually never asks the question.

  8. Blur - Song 2

    Song 2 - so called because it was the second track on Blur's fifth album- may have been a lazy name, but it certainly didn't hurt the Britpop band, fittingly scoring them a No.2 in the UK charts.

  9. The Who - Baba O'Riley

    Pete Townshend's lyrics about "teenage wasteland" reflect the sci-fi themes of The Who's aborted "Lifehouse" project, but the title pays tribute to new age musician Terry Riley and Townshend's spiritual guru Meher Baba.

  10. Smashing Pumpkins - Bullet With Butterfly Wings

    "Despite all my rage, I am still just a rat in a cage." Billy Corgan rants away in this grunge-era classic, but that evocative title is nowhere to be seen.