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Refrain from Assuming
"Teenage Wasteland... teenage wasteland... teenage wasteland... it's only teenage wasteland..."

Many songs, perhaps even most songs have the title of the song as the refrain or otherwise prominently featured in the lyrics. Woe be, however, to the casual listener who assumes that this is true of all songs. They're liable to say something like "I love that song 'Teenage Wasteland'" and get permanently branded a noob or a poser, or just get banned for hitting the Fandom Berserk Button altogether.

In the defense of such listeners, this Title Confusion often results from idiosyncratic song naming, where the title of the song has apparently nothing whatsoever to do with the tune (thereby averting Title Drop). Also, songs are frequently played on the radio (or by friends) with no introduction so the best anyone can do for identification is typing whatever line is most memorable into Google with "lyrics" after it or humming a few bars.

Songs that outlast their initial airplay popularity to become incorporated into other works such as films and video games as background music are particularly vulnerable to this, as contemporary listeners can catch the title being mentioned by a radio DJ or see the credits of the music video.

As a general rule, if the song title is given as "Phrase 1 (Phrase 2)", it's probably this type of song. Phrase 1 is the official title and Phrase 2 is the line that repeatedly appears in the lyrics that everyone thinks is the title. Or sometimes the other way around, which apparently represents the musicians giving up and titling the song what everyone calls it anyway, but retaining their original title in parenthetized form.

Incidentally, Opera tunes are traditionally known by their first lines, so this trope never applies to them if you're good at catching words in Italian or German. Of course, there's the catch of being able to tell where songs begin, sometimes they begin with dialogue rather than with actual song. People who assume that the song's name is the most prominent words in the text, such as someone calling "nessun dorma" for "vincerò, vincerò!", will be descreetly labelled "beginner" by the rest of the group and anyone talking with them is politely "dumbing down" for them or offering to explain.

See also Misattributed Song and Non-Appearing Title. Sometimes turns into a Chorus-Only Song. See also Mondegreen, which is related but is more often about goofing up the lyrics, not the title.

Examples:

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Modern Artists

    A-L 
  • Four Non Blondes' biggest (only?) hit is not "What's Going On". It's "What's Up". The former title was avoided so it wouldn't be mistaken for a cover of the Marvin Gaye song of that name. (Neither is it called "HEYYEYAAEYAAAEYAEYAA", for those who only know it from the He-Man music video—and even that isn't the full video's title, which is "Fabulous Secret Powers".)
  • 16 Horsepower did this very often. Most notable is "Coal Black Horses", the chorus of which repeats the name-friendly phrase "Hey hey hey, it's always forever, hey hey hey, never or now". Other examples are "Hang my teeth on your door", "Neck on the new blade" and "The Denver Grab."
  • Ace of Base's "The Sign" is not called "I Saw the Sign".
  • The Bryan Adams song is "Summer of '69", not "Best Days of My Life". Both phrases feature in the lyrics.
  • Aerosmith:
    • While recording their legendary "Raising Hell" album, rap pioneers Run-D.M.C. had problems tracking down Aerosmith to ask them to collaborate on the remake of their "Walk This Way". The reason? As Russell "Rapper's Run" Simmons admitted later, they thought both the band and the song were "Toys in the Attic" (which was both the name of the album "Walk This Way" appeared on and a completely different song on that album).
    • It's "Rag Doll", not "Livin' in a Movie", "Daddy's Little Cutie", "Old Tin Lizzy", or anything else.
    • It is also not well known that the official title of "Dude Looks Like a Lady" is "Dude." "Looks Like a Lady" shows up in the title, but only in parentheses.
  • AFI:
    • If someone mentions "Kiss My Eyes and Lay Me to Sleep", they're probably thinking of "Prelude 12/21".
    • In the same vein, "As We All Form One Dark Flame", "Love Your Hate", or "You Are Now One of Us" is actually "Miseria Cantare (The Beginning)".
  • The Afroman song that people keep calling "Colt 45" is called "Crazy Rap". "Colt 45" is a COMPLETELY different song from the same artist.
  • "Here I Am" and "The One That You Love" are two different Air Supply songs (the fact that they're both from the same album, which is also titled "The One That You Love", doesn't help a bit... to make matters even worse, the songs were also released as the A and B sides of the same single). The former is sometimes referred to as "Just When I Thought I Was Over You" to try to head off the confusion.
  • The name of The Alan Parsons Project's biggest hit in America is not "I Can Read Your Mind", but "Eye in the Sky". Both lines occur in the chorus, but the former is the one at the end of the chorus and the one that repeats most often.
  • Alice in Chains big hit from the early nineties is called "Would?" not "Into the Flood (Again)".
  • Ambrosia's "Biggest Part of Me" is usually mistakenly referred to by its repeated choral refrain: "Make a Wish".
  • America doesn't have a song called "Will You Meet Me in the Middle?" That's "Sister Golden Hair".
  • Tori Amos never released a song called "Starfucker." It's "Professional Widow." (Although the Rolling Stones did have a "Starfucker". Their record company made them change it to "Star Star".)
  • Anberlin:
    • It's "The Feel Good Drag", not "Was This Over Before (Before It Ever Began) or any variation thereof.
    • "Fin" is not called "Patron Saint of Lost Causes".
  • Animal Collective has never released a song called "Open Up Your Throat". The actual name of the song is "Brother Sport".
  • The Arcade Fire song "Rebellion (Lies)" never has the word "rebellion" occur in its lyrics; it has the word "lies" only in the backup vocals, but it is repeated many times back there.
  • Archive's song "Bullets", which was used in a teaser for the video game Cyberpunk 2077, is sometimes called "Personal Responsibility".
  • Thanks to the meme, there are a few people who think Rick Astley's infamous song is actually called "Rickroll". The song is called "Never Gonna Give You Up". When L33tStr33t Boys covered it for April Fool's Day, they released it under the title "Rickroll".
  • Looking for the Aqua song "Candyman"? No such title, it's "Lollipop". Perhaps the more obvious phrase was not used as the title in an attempt to avoid people confusing it with the Sammy Davis song "The Candy Man".
  • Joseph Arthur's "In the Sun" is often known as "May God's Love Be with You" or "If I Find My Way", both of which appear at noticeable turning points in the song.
  • Back in the sixties, Atomic Rooster did a song which was called "Devil's Answer", and not the repeated imperative "Change!".
  • Avenged Sevenfold does not have a song called "I'm Not Insane". The song that repeatedly uses that line is called "Almost Easy".
  • Bananarama never made a song called "Your Desire" nor did they ever do one titled "Goddess on the Mountaintop" or "She's Got It". However they did cover another band's song called "Venus".
  • The Band's "The Weight" is not called "Take a Load Off, Fanny" or "I Pulled Into Nazareth" (although that last one would have been a cool title).
  • Sara Bareilles:
    • Did you think she did "Head Underwater" or "I'm Not Gonna Write You a Love Song"? It's actually titled "Love Song".
    • Did you think she made "You Are Not Me (Who Made You King of Anything?)"? It's simply "King of Anything".
  • People tend to remember "One Week" by the Barenaked Ladies as the song with "chickety-china, the Chinese chicken" and mislabel it as such. The line appears only once but is very distictive.
  • That Beach Boys song (actually Older than Television) about a miserable boat trip is called "Sloop John B", not "I Wanna Go Home".
  • The Beatles:
    • The second track on Abbey Road is just called "Something", not "Something in the Way She Moves". note 
    • "Eleanor Rigby" is not "All the Lonely People" or "Look at all the Lonely People".
  • Pat Benatar's "Love Is a Battlefield" is often mistitled "We Are Young", after the line that begins the chorus instead of ending it.
  • The Beautiful South did a song called "Good As Gold", and not "Carry On Regardless".
  • That Justin Bieber song is just called "Boyfriend", not "If I Was Your Boyfriend".
  • The Biffy Clyro song "Many of Horror" is often referred to as "When We Collide" after the first line of the chorus. Matters made worse by Matt Cardle's cover, which really did change the name of the song.
  • The Billy Talent song "The Navy Song" is continually named under the repeated lyrics: "In the Fall".
  • Biz Markie's major hit isn't called "You Got What I Need", it's "Just a Friend".
  • Black Sheep's most famous track is not known as "This or That", "You Can Go With This", or anything with the words "this" or "that" in it. The title is actually "The Choice Is Yours".
  • blink-182:
    • The band does not have a song called "Say It Ain't So". That song is called "All the Small Things".
    • blink-182 (or their fans) later inverted this before releasing their last album. When a version of the first track was released, many people began calling it "Action" because you can hear a sport's commentator saying "Get ready for action!" at the beginning of the song, despite the fact that "Feeling This" is literally every other line in the song. When the album was released, the song was titled "Feeling This".
    • And their song "Dammit" doesn't once use that word.
    • Nor is Adam mentioned anywhere in "Adam's Song".
  • The Bloodhound Gang:
    • "The Bad Touch" is more commonly referred to as "the Discovery Channel song".
    • Also, "Fire Water Burn" isn't named "The Roof is On Fire".
  • Blue Oyster Cult fans have this problem all the time, particularly given the band's frequent use of Word Salad titles and the sheer wordiness of their lyrics. Below, some of their songs (on the left, the actual title; on the right, the title most fans think of):
    • "Hot Rails to Hell" = "Burn Your Eyes Out"
    • "7 Screaming Diz-Busters" = "Lucifer the Light"
    • "Flaming Telepaths" = "The Joke's on You"
    • "Extraterrestrial Intelligence" = "Balthazar"
    • "Sinful Love" = "Daredevil"
    • Ironically inverted with "The Golden Age of Leather". Everybody knows the song title, but it's mentioned once at the beginning of the song (in the "glee-club" opening) and then is never mentioned again.
    • Oddly with "Tattoo Vampire", where the title is indeed sung several times toward the end of the song, but in such a way that it sounds like "Vampire Tattoo".
  • The Bluetones' biggest hit is called "Slight Return", despite these words not appearing anywhere in the song; it's more usually known by the chorus, as Lampshaded in their later B-Side "Armageddon (Outta Here)":
    Student 1: What's their hit? "Slight Return", that's the one.
    Student 2: Oh, I don't know that one, I only know the one that goes "you don't have to have the solution, you've got to invest in the problem".
    Student 1: Yeah, that's "Slight Return".
    Student 2: Oh. I thought it was called "You Don't Have To Have The Solution, You've Got To Invest In The Problem".
    Student 1: No.
    Student 2: Oh.
  • blur's "Song 2" is often called "Woo Hoo" after the chorus. This may be a cautionary tale for bands: if you're going to give your song the second most generic title possible (at least there's a number instead of just calling it "Song"), fans will invent their own name for it.
  • The Eric Bogle song "No Man's Land" is sometimes known as (and has been recorded under) the alternate title "Green Fields of France". Some people, however, refer to the song as "Willie McBride" (the name of the dead soldier to whom the song is addressed).
  • Bon Jovi:
    • "Shot Through the Heart" and "You Give Love a Bad Name" are two different songs. To add to the confusion, both start with the words "Shot through the heart"...
    • Although "You Give Love a Bad Name" uses its title twice in the refrain, and "Shot through the heart" is only heard once in the refrain.
  • That David Bowie song is "Space Oddity", not "Major Tom". Peter Schilling's new-wave sequel to Bowie's song, on the other hand, was titled "Major Tom" despite there being no mention of Tom in the chorus. It's sometimes referred to as "Coming Home".

    To add to the confusion, Peter Schilling has two "Major Tom" songs. One takes the themes of the Bowie song and runs with them - "Major Tom (Coming Home)", the second one is "Major Tom, Part 2" Or, in the original German version, as "Major Tom (völlig losgelöst)"; the parenthetical part features very prominently in the chorus.
  • The Laura Branigan song sometimes known as "Creatures of the Night" is titled "Self Control" (a line that does appear in the song as "you take my self control" but is not as clearly enunciated as the mistaken title).
  • The Bravery song with the chorus "I just want love" is actually called "Unconditional".
  • That Bring Me The Horizon song is not called "This is Sempiternal". It's called "Shadow Moses".
  • James Brown:
    • His most famous song is called "I Got You (I Feel Good)", not "I Feel Good." (Initially, the song's title was just "I Got You" without the subtitle. The original version has shown up on several compilations over the years.)
    • His second-most famous is not "Sex Machine", or "Get Up", or "Get On Up", but has the baffling title "Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine".
  • BT:
    • The only single off of Emotional Technology is actually titled "Somnambulist (Simply Being Loved)". Between 75% of the refrain consisting of the subtitle and the U.S. home version of DDR Extreme including it with the title switched around, it's usually referred to as just "Simply Being Loved". (In fact, it doesn't even have its main title in the lyrics. The closest it somes to title-dropping is : "So little joy, so little joy / It's complicated / I feel I'm stumbling in the dark / Somnambulated".)
    • There is no song titled "Do You Cry Your Eyes Asleep". That's "The Force of Gravity", whose title appears but once. Most of the remixes only use the refrain, completely leaving out the title.
    • The song with the refrain "Reach Out for Me" is titled "Mercury and Solace", also a Non-Appearing Title.
  • Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth" is not "Stop, Hey, What's That Sound", but that is a subtitle.
  • Jimmy Buffett's song "Defying Gravity" is sometimes referred to as "Big Round Ball".
  • Butthole Surfers' "Pepper", their biggest hit and one of their frequent Non-Appearing Title songs, gets mistakenly called "Coming Down The Mountain" (the last line of every verse), "I Don't Mind the Sun Sometimes" (the first line of the chorus), or "Through Other People's Eyes" (the last line of the chorus). Or some variation on the lines "They were all in love with dying/They were doing it in Texas."
  • Colbie Caillat released no such song as "Wherever You Go" or "Starts In My Toes". It's "Bubbly".
  • CAKE:
    • "Nugget" is often mistitled "Shut The Fuck Up", since the latter phrase makes up about half the chorus and it's got a Non-Appearing Title. Chicken McNuggets get mentioned in the lyrics, but that probably couldn't have been used as a title without getting in trouble with McDonalds.
  • The famous Canned Heat song about overdoing white powder is called Amphetamine Annie and not Speed Kills!
    • "Shadow Stabbing" is not "Say It All", "Outside", or any of the other lyrics that actually appear in the song.
  • Caramell's song "Caramelldansen" is sometimes dubbed "U-U-Uaua" by Nico Nico Douga users for the chant before and after the chorus.
  • It's "(They Long to Be) Close to You" by Carpenters, not "Why do Birds Suddenly Appear". Confusing on this one is a little baffling, because "close to you" features often and prominently in the chorus, while "why do birds suddenly appear" occurs only once (as, admittedly, the very first line).
  • The Cars:
    • The big hit is entitled "You Might Think", not "All I Want Is You".
    • It's "Let's Go", not "I Like The Nightlife Baby".
  • Cascada's song "Love Again" is much better known as "The Summer Belongs to You".
  • C & C Music Factory's hit is not called "Everybody Dance Now", it's "Gonna Make You Sweat", although "Everybody Dance Now" is its subtitle.
  • Chic's disco hit was not titled "Freak Out!" It's "Le Freak". C'est Chic. Both phrases appear in the chorus, but "Freak Out!" is first, significantly louder, and much easier to pick out.
  • Chicago: "Call On Me" and "Questions 67 and 68" have too many phrases in the chorus to list all possible alternate titles.
  • Childish Gambino does this a lot on because the internet. For example "I. The Worst Guys" is not called "All She Needed Was Some" and "Flight of the Navigator" isn't "Hold Me Close My Darling". He also does the parenthetical type of this trope a couple times, with "Telegraph Ave. (Oakland by Lloyd)" and "Zealots of Stockholm (Free Information)".
  • The words "Train in Vain" never appear in The Clash's song of that name. It's commonly known as "Stand by Me" for lyrics that do appear in the song. (The title is probably a reference to the Robert Johnson classic "Love in Vain".)
  • Chumbawamba's "Tubthumping" may best be known as "I Get Knocked Down" or "Pissing the Night Away".
  • The George M Cohan song "I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy" was originally titled "The Yankee Doodle Boy" (and the last line of the chorus is "I am that Yankee Doodle boy").
  • Coheed and Cambria's song "A Favor House Atlantic" often gets this treatment, being referred to as "Good Eye Sniper", the first line of the refrain, or as "Bye Bye Beautiful", the first line of the chorus. (Granted, many of Coheed's song titles aren't included as lyrics in the song, and only make sense if the listener takes the titles in the context of the Amory Wars storyline.
  • Coldplay has a lot of counterintuitive song titles:
    • "Fix You" is not called "Lights Will Guide You Home". The title comes from the last words of the chorus, rather than the first.
    • "Politik" could easily get mislabeled as "Open Up Your Eyes", since that line is shouted loudly numerous consecutive times, while the word "Politik" only appears twice and doesn't sound important.
    • "Viva La Vida" has many title-esque lines in it (some may call the song "When I Ruled The World"), but the phrase "Viva La Vida" isn't in there at all, although it is part of the title of its album — Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends ("Death and All His Friends" being the name of the last(ish) song on the album.)
    • "Charlie Brown" does not contain the phrase "Charlie Brown" and has no obvious relation to Charlie Brown. From the lyrics, the song sounds like it's called "Glowing In The Dark" (which is repeated prominently 3 times).
      • Fridge Brilliance? The outro kinda sounds like the "Peanuts" piano standby "Linus & Lucy".
      • Some incorrectly list the song name as "Cartoon Heart" due to the lyric halfway through the song; the fact that this was the original name of the song doesn't help either.
  • Phil Collins:
    • "Something Happened on the Way to Heaven" is named after an line in the second verse. Based on the chorus, a more predictable title might be "Please Believe in Me". Opera convention would name it "We had a life, we had a love".
    • "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)" — as the bracketed title would suggest — is frequently known as "Take a look at me now". (Just to complicate matters, the song is named for the movie in which it appeared. In the lyrics, the line is "against the odds": It is sung as "against all odds" only in the last verse, and not in all versions of the song.)
  • Album Title Drops are a frequent victim of this trope. Elvis Costello's "Brilliant Mistake" is often thought to be called "King of America" because it's the title of the album and the first line of the song.
  • Jonathan Coulton:
    • The love song from an evil villain to his female captive is titled "Skullcrusher Mountain", not "I'm So Into You". The latter phrase appears in the chorus; the title appears at the beginning of every verse.
    • His song about a zombie wanting to eat his colleague's brains isn't titled "All We Wanna Do Is Eat Your Brains", nor is it "Eat Your Brains" or any other variation on that. The song is actually titled "Re: Your Brains" ("re" is short for "regarding", not "reply" - it's meant to look like a business email subject header).
  • The Cowsills did not do a song called "The Flower Girl"; that's "The Rain, the Park, and Other Things".
  • Cracker:
    • "Low" is frequently called "Like Being Stoned" (or just "Stoned"); the title is in the chorus, it's just not the part people tend to remember for some reason.
    • Another song's title is "Teen Angst", not "What the World Needs Now".
  • That "In Your Head" song by The Cranberries? It's actually called "Zombie".
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival:
    • Once, all three panelists on Jeopardy! gave questions to a Final Answer answers that were all variations of "What is 'Rolling on the River'?" The song is called "Proud Mary".
    • There is no CCR song titled "Some Folks" or "It Ain't Me". It's "Fortunate Son".
  • "One Last Breath" by Creed might be better known as "Hold Me Now" or "Six Feet From The Edge", both of which prominently appear as part of the chorus. The actual song title shows up in the penultimate lines of the first two verses.
  • Jim Croce had two songs with Non Appearing Titles: "Age" ("I've traded love for pennies, sold my soul for less . . ." and "Thursday" ("I was looking for a lifetime lover, and you were looking for a friend.")
  • Cryoshell's song "Creeping in my Soul" is sometimes subjected to this. Due to a repeated refrain, it is often called "Creeps from the Deep". Creeping in my soul is also repeated several times throughout the song, but part of the confusion stems from the fact that the song was featured in a video called Creeps from the Deep. For whatever reason, it is also sometimes has the subtitle "Deep Dive" added to the title (ie. "Creeping in my Soul (Deep Dive)".
  • The Cure:
    • "A Forest" has been referred to as "Into the Trees".
    • "Let's Go to Bed" saves that part for the very end. Those words aren't uttered at all in the chorus.
  • Billy Currington's "Good Directions" has the title only at the very end. It is not titled "Right Back Here to Me" (a recurring line) except in Luke Bryan's cover.
  • Dead or Alive: It's not "You Spin Me Right Round", it's "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)". "Right Round" is the name of a Flo Rida song heavily based upon it, however.
  • A great many Death Cab for Cutie songs have their title only appear once, outside of the refrain, or not at all:
    • It's "Crooked Teeth", not "Nothing There All Along". The title only appears once in the lyrics.
    • "Marching Bands of Manhattan" is often mistaken as "Your Love Is Gonna Drown"
    • "Grapevine Fires" is not called "A Matter of Time" or "Before We All Burn".
  • John Denver:
    • "Annie's Song", one of his biggest hits, never mentions the name Annie anywhere in the lyrics. People who don't know the real title tend to assume it's called "You Fill Up My Senses" or "Come Let Me Love You".
    • By the same token, "Annie's Other Song" is often assumed to be called "I'm Bringin' Me Home to You".
  • Dire Straits' biggest hit is "Money for Nothing", not "MTV", "Microwave Ovens", or "Color T Veeees".

    "Weird Al" Yankovic's parody of the song is called "Money for Nothing/Beverly Hillbillies*", not just "Beverly Hillbillies". And yes, both the title of the original and the asterisk are part of the title.
  • Even if you "Tell Me All Your Thoughts On God", the fact remains that the Dishwalla song that begins the chorus with those lyrics is actually called "Counting Blue Cars".
  • Disturbed:
    • "Meaning of Life" is often called "Get Psycho".
    • "Conflict" is often called "Enemy". Probably because "enemy" is every fifth word. To put it into perspective, the song is about 250 words long at 4:35. The word "Enemy" is used at least 52 times. So yes, this song is indeed made 1/5 "Enemy".
  • You know that DMX party track "Up in Here"? How about "Y'all Gon Make Me Lose My Mind"? They don't exist. "Party Up" does, however. "Up in Here" is the song's subtitle, though.
  • Donovan's song is called "Sunshine Superman", not "I've Made My Mind Up" or "You're Going to Be Mine." The Title Drop comes with the relatively unobtrusive line "Superman and Green Lantern ain't got, uh, nothing on me."
  • The Doobie Brothers never made a song called "Without Love". It's "Long Train Runnin'".
  • Doug And The Slugs' "Chinatown Calculation" got called "Chop Suey" on occasion, at least in Canada in the mid-80s when it was somewhat popular.
  • DragonForce:
    • It's just "Through the Fire and Flames" by, not "Through the Fire and the Flames", even though the lyrics say "Through the fire and the flames, we carry on!"
    • Even though the lyrics to one of their songs say "We stand before the dawn of a new world", the actual title is "Dawn over a New World".
  • What about when the most-known part of the song doesn't even have lyrics? That's the case for "Life in a Northern Town" by The Dream Academy, otherwise known as that song that goes "Ah hey ma ma ma hey ah". Most probably only know it as the song that Luanne and Buckley's angel jumped on the trampoline to, or as Sunchyme by Dario G.
  • "Bodies" by Drowning Pool tends to get called "Let the Bodies Hit the Floor".
  • Hilary Duff never did a song called "Let the Rain Fall Down". It's "Come Clean".
  • Bob Dylan was very fond of this trope for a while.
    • "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35" is the title of the song better known as "Everybody Must Get Stoned". It's clear why the song couldn't be titled "Everybody Must Get Stoned" — it would have seriously hampered distribution of anything with that song on it; it's less clear why Dylan chose this decoy title. He claimed it was for two women who wandered into the studio the day the song was recorded... or "Rainy day woman" might be a slang term for a marijuana cigarette from the '60s.
    • While Don't Look Back is the Dylan documentary, the song is called "She Belongs to Me". And yes, the title is ironic.
    • "My Back Pages" is occasionally credited as some variation on the chorus "I Was So Much Older Then/I'm Younger Than That Now".
    • "Ballad of a Thin Man" is not "that Mr Jones song".
    • "Positively 4th Street" is not "You got a lotta nerve..."
    • The song is "I Don't Believe You", but due to the recurring line it's often called "I Don't Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Have Met)".
    • In a slightly different way, most of the Dylan titles from his 1965-66 years have a -ly adverb; not only do they have Non Appearing Titles, it certainly looks like only the part after the adverb is the real title and the adverb is tacked on ("Positively 4th Street", "Obviously 5 Believers", "Queen Jane Approximately", "Absolutely Sweet Marie" and, probably the most blatant example, "Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine)")
  • Sheena Easton's hit song is not "My Baby Takes the Morning Train". Perhaps you are confusing it with "Morning Train (Nine to Five)". ("9 to 5 (Morning Train)" before it was retitled for the U.S. market to avoid confusion with the similarly titled Dolly Parton song.)
  • That Eels tune with the Jingle-esque refrain "before I sputter out" is properly called "Novocaine For The Soul". The latter phrase occurs immediately before the former; it's just not as memorable melodically.
  • One-Hit Wonder Electronic did not have a song called "I Don't Need You Anymore", that's the Non-Appearing Title song "Reality".
  • Emerson, Lake & Palmer's "Come Inside", sometimes referred to as "Welcome Back My Friends", is actually entitled "Karn Evil 9: First Impression Part 2", and it's actually only the second part of a four-part song that tells the story of a world in which all decadence and sin has been banished.
  • Enanitos Verdes has no song called "¡Por Favor, Déjennos Bailar!" The name of it is "Guitarras Blancas".
  • "Oy yi hi oh why yi yi", or rather Enigma's "Return to Innocence" (and originally the Taiwanese "Jubilant Drinking Song") is best known by the parts of the song without lyrics.
  • Enya's "Sail Away" was originally titled "Orinoco Flow". It's sometimes listed as "Orinoco Flow (Sail Away)."
  • Erasure does not have a song titled "Take Me, I'm Yours"; that's "Breath of Life", whose title is absent from its lyrics.
  • Evanescence:
    • "Bring Me to Life", despite being one of their most well-known songs, falls victim to this trope a lot. Even though "Bring me to life" is in the lyrics, everyone still seems to think it's "Wake Me up Inside" — including some serious academic books on pop culture.
    • "Bleed" is more generally known as "I Must Be Dreaming". Admittedly, "bleed" is used only once, in the first verse.
    • Weirdly, it seems "My Immortal" doesn't get confused as much, maybe because the chorus is not very giving up of an in-song title. Or because of the fanfiction named after it.
    • "Whisper" is sometimes called "Don't Turn Out the Lights" for the last lyric in the chorus of the song.
  • Is Eve6's biggest hit called "Heart in a Blender"? Or "Rendezvous"? How about "Swallow My Pride"? No, it's "Inside Out".
  • Everclear:
    • "Santa Monica," which does not contain the title anywhere in the lyrics, tends to be called "Watch the World Die" (the last line of the chorus) or, occasionally, "Live Beside the Ocean" (from the first line of the chorus).
    • "Father of Mine" (which shows up at the beginning of the verses) is not called "Daddy Gave Me a Name" (from the chorus).
  • Everything Else's song "Everything Else" would be a Title Only Chorus if the title of the song was "Stereotypical".
  • Faith No More's hit song is called "Epic", not "You Want It All".
  • The Fantasy Project song with the refrain "Stay, baby" is not the title track from the Stay album, but another song from that album called "Spirit"; the real title doesn't appear at all in the lyrics. Similarly, "Stay" may be mistakenly called "Don't Be Blind", since that appears in the refrain, while the title doesn't.
  • The rock band Fastball has multiple examples of each type:
    • "Damaged Goods" and "Sweetwater Texas" are the more traditional types (those phrases are never uttered during the song), while "Goodbye" technically falls into this category, as only the shortened phrase 'bye' is used in the song.
    • "The Malcontent (The Modern World)" and "We'll Always Have Paris (Everyday All of the Time)" fall into the "Phrase 1 (Phrase 2)" category.
    • "Warm Fuzzy Feeling" and "Red Light" each have a Title Drop once, during the first verses. The titular phrases are not repeated. "Mono to Stereo" is much the same, but with the title drop in the second verse.
    • Plenty of Fastball's other songs, including their biggest hit "The Way," drop the title multiple times, but never during the refrain. Although that does fit this trope, it also makes the title fairly easy to pick out, as it's usually the only phrase repeated across every verse.
  • Fatboy Slim:
    • FBS has never recorded anything called "Funk Soul Brother". Or "Check It out Now". (Or "The Funk's Your Brother", nor "The Funk's So Rubber".) Try "The Rockafeller Skank". note  The CD single was sold with a sticker on it saying "Check It out Now, the Funk Soul Brother" so people would know that that was the song.
      • To make things even MORE confusing, the other songs on that album have titles related to the lyrics.
    • "Star 69", another Non-Appearing Title, is not called "WTF".
    • He also never composed a song called "Push the Tempo"... that's in the track called "Ya Mama" (named for the sample "shake what ya mama gave ya").
  • Feeder:
    • The popular song "Buck Rogers" is sometimes referred to as "Brand New Car" or even "CD Player". The title does appear in the song but only as backing vocals between the chorus and verse.
    • "Just a Day" does not feature the title within the lyrics. It tends to show up on music sites with names like "All By Myself" or "I Blame Myself".
  • The Fifth Dimension song "Wedding Bell Blues" has been called "Bill".
  • Five For Fighting's "Superman (It's Not Easy)" doesn't contain the word "Superman" anywhere (it's sung from the point of view of Superman). Aside from the parenthetical part of the title, common names for this include "I'm More Than a Man in a Silly Red Sheet" or "I Can't Stand to Fly".
  • The Flaming Lips song with the chorus that goes "You're invisible now..." is called "Riding to Work in the Year 2025 (Your Invisible Now)". Yes, with that spelling mistake.
  • Some people refer to Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams" as "Thunder". This mistake occurs less often than it ought to, since the word "dreams" is buried in the lyrics, while "thunder" is quite prominent. Mistakes may become more common if the song starts fading from the collective consciousness.
  • Flight of the Conchords:
    • The song "Bowie" is often referred to as "Bowie's in Space", after its first lines.
    • The song officially titled "Robots" has been referred to as both "The Humans are Dead" (or just "Humans are Dead") after its chorus and "The Distant Future" after its opening line and the name of the album it appears on.
    • "Pencils in the Wind" is usually called "Sellotape".
  • Florence + the Machine's "Spectrum", to the point that when released as a single and a Calvin Harris remix, "(Say My Name)" was tacked onto the end of the title.
  • The FloRida song with Intercourse with You innuendos is "Whistle", not "Blow My Whistle Baby".
  • Foreigner's "Juke Box Hero" is not called "One Guitar" or "Stars in His Eyes." The recent film adaptation Rock of Ages muddies the issue by having a character wear star-framed sunglasses as "Juke Box Hero" is being performed.
  • The Format has a song called "The First Single (You Know Me)" (sometimes even with "Cause A Scene" in parenthesis instead) because it was the band's first single.
  • Foster The People's only hit is called "Pumped Up Kicks", not "All the Other Kids".
  • The Four Seasons song "December 1963" is commonly known as "Oh What a Night". Album listings do use Title (Subtitle) format but don't agree on which phrase goes in the parentheses.
  • The Four Tops' "I Can't Help Myself" is also known as "Sugar Pie Honey Bunch", since that starts the song and is considerably more notable than the true title. Some cover versions use the false title.
  • You know the song "Freedom" by Aretha Franklin? It's actually called "Think".
  • The Fray:
    • "Over My Head (Cable Car)" was originally just "Cable Car", but Executive Meddling changed it before it was widely released. It's the band's first single; one presumes that they might have gotten away with just calling it "Cable Car" if they were more established.
    • For instance, now that they are established, "Never Say Never" does not have "Don't Let Me Go" as a subtitle.
  • Dutch singer Rene Froger's "Alles kan een mens gelukkig maken" (everything can make a man happy) is often called "Een eigen huis" (a home of my own), because this particular sentence is featured far more promenently in the refrain than the actual title.
  • Ginuwine's 2001 hit "Differences" is better known by the name "My Whole Life" or "My Whole Life Has Changed", which comes from the first line of the chorus. The actual title only appears once in the song.
  • Girls' Generation do not have a song called "Bring the Boys Out". The song's title is simply "The Boys". (Also, while we're on the subject, the band's name is Girls' Generation, with a plural possessive, not Girl's Generation.)
  • Gary Glitter's "Rock and Roll Part 2" is not called the "Hey Song" or "Wuh-Huh-Huh-Huh...UGH! Da-Duh, Da-Duh." Interestingly, the words "rock and roll" are uttered somewhere in the song (some of the only real lyrics there are), but most public performances and movie/TV soundtracks cut the song down extensively, only playing the famous "grunting" chorus. Most people tend to know it as simply "that football game/sports stadium song."
  • In response to this trope, the song titled "Dance Floor Anthem" on Good Charlotte's Good Morning Revival album was retitled "Dance Floor Anthem (I Don't Want to Be in Love)" when it was released as a single (over time, the title and subtitle switched places, and eventually it became known only as "I Don't Want to Be in Love").
  • "Without Math" was the intended title of The Googols' song in a Mathnet installment; the record company exec changed it to the non-appearing title "Don't Leave, Just Stay, I'll Go" (because his scheme involved CDs with two commas in the titles).
  • The most iconic song from The The Goo Goo Dolls is called "Iris," not "I Just Want You To Know Who I Am" or "I Don't Want The World To See Me." Though, to be fair, the title isn't mentioned anywhere in the song, nor does it have anything to do with the movie it was written for (City of Angels).
  • Lots of Gorillaz' songs are known for having a title not in the song, so a lot of songs by them are misnamed, like "Clint Eastwood" being called "Sunshine in a Bag" or "My Future is Coming On", and "19/2000" being called "Get the Cool Shoeshine".
  • Grace Jones' signature song is often thought to be the title track off of Slave To The Rhythm, although this is a structurally-different version of the album's closing track, "Ladies And Gentlemen: Miss Grace Jones", which is often the version that people are looking for.
  • Josh Gracin's "Brass Bed" as titled on the album, was renamed "Stay With Me (Brass Bed)" upon release of the single.
  • The Grateful Dead:
    • The song known as "I Will Get By" is actually titled "Touch of Grey".
    • The song sometimes called "Ashes, Ashes, All Fall Down" is actually called "Throwing Stones".
    • "Truckin" is better known as "What A Long Strange Trip It's Been".
  • Green Day:
    • "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)": People think it's just "Time of Your Life". When it was originally released, the media sometimes referred to it as "Time Of Your Life (Good Riddance)".
    • They also have "Platypus (I Hate You)".
    • The chorus of a certain song by them goes "There's no one else around / when you're the last gang in town / and your heart can even break / when it doesn't even pound". Many people call it "Last Gang In Town", which was its original title. It's actual title is "Rusty James", which doesn't appear in the lyrics, but is close to the line "pocket knives and rusty chains / where the hell is the old gang at?"
    • "Basket Case" has a Non-Appearing Title, so many wrongly believe it's called "Paranoid" after the line in the chorus that goes "Am I just paranoid?"
  • Lee Greenwood:
    • The patriotic song "God Bless the U.S.A." is more often called "Proud To Be An American."
  • "Electric Slide" is the name of the popular line dance that you (or more likely your parents and grandparents) dance to Marcia Griffiths' hit single "Electric Boogie"; it is not the name of the song itself.
  • Haircut One Hundred never did a song called "Boy Meets Girl". They did, however, do a song called "Favourite Shirts".
  • "Ice Cream Freeze" is a song by Hannah Montana, but it leaked months before its release and most fans thought the title was "Let's Chill", so when it was officially released, it got the title of "Ice Cream Freeze (Let's Chill)".
  • Harvey Danger's hit song, "Flagpole Sitta" apparently leads a bizarre triple life. It's often called "I'm Not Sick But I'm Not Well" because "Flagpole Sitta" doesn't appear in the song. The closest thing to it is the line I run it up the flagpole and see / who salutes, but no one ever does. It's also known as Green Day's "Paranoia". This isn't caused by the existence of three differently-titled covers; there's only one recorded cover, which is by Chiodos.
  • Hawkwind doesn't have a song called "Disappear in Smoke," no matter what the chorus of "Psychedelic Warlords" wants you to think.
    • Likewise, "This body of mine" is actually "Brainstorm".
  • Head East's '70s classic rock hit is not titled "Save My Life", "Going Down for the Last Time", or anything else found in the chorus. Rather, it's titled for the line that occurs two lines before the refrain: "Never Been Any Reason".
  • It's called "Hide and Seek" by Imogen Heap, not "Whatcha Say". Although there was a later song called "Whatcha Say" by Jason Derulo that used the original song as a sample. The fact that Derulo's song became a #1 hit made things only worse for the original tune.
  • The 1973 debut album by avant-garde rock pioneers Henry Cow is entitled The Henry Cow Legend. It has become so popular to refer to the album by the title Leg End — a practice that spoils the joke inherent in the cover art (the cover features an image of a sock, as did the covers to their next two albums) — that the remastered CD was actually entitled LEG END: Original Mix.
  • "Escape" by Rupert Holmes was officially retitled "Escape (The Piña Colada Song)" when the record label learned that just about everyone who asked for the song in record stores referred to it as "that piña colada song".
  • Hot Chocolate:
    • They named their song about a black woman/white man relationship "Brother Louie" (famously covered by Stories.) They probably did this to distinguish it from that other "Louie Louie" song. The word "brother" does appear once in the lyrics ("Brothers, you know what I mean.")
    • "You Sexy Thing" is known by some as "I Believe in Miracles".
  • Playing Whitney Houston videos after her unfortunate passing has probably led to at least one person's surprise to find out that "The Greatest Love of All", is not, in fact, called "I Believe the Children are Our Future".
  • Ben Howard's "Fly Me to the Moon" was originally called "In Other Words" after the first line of the chorus, but eventually due to the confusion it was changed to the first line of the song, which everyone knows it as.
  • The Icicle Works' "Birds Fly (Whisper to a Scream)": the phrase "Birds fly" appears once in the second verse, while "Whisper to a scream" is the last line of the chorus. And according to Arista Records, the subtitle apparently wasn't enough: they wouldn't put the single out in the U.S. unless it was retitled "Whisper to a Scream (Birds Fly)". It's been released multiple times under both "title 1 (title 2)" configurations, so both are correct, although technically "Whisper to a Scream (Birds Fly)" is supposed to refer to the mix of the song released as a single in the U.S.
  • Icona Pop's biggest hit featuring Charli XCX is titled "I Love It," not "I Don't Care," which is the first shouted line of the chorus.
  • "Drive" by Incubus is mistakenly-known as "Whatever Tomorrow Brings" (the first line of the chorus), "Water Over Wine" (a line from the second verse), and even "I'll Be There".
  • The IOSYS song that repeats "Overdrive" at the start is actually called "Stops at the Affected Area and Immediately Dissolves ~Lunatic Udongein~", not "Overdrive" or "Over Drive".
  • Iron Maiden:
    • "The Wicker Man" was once called "Your Time Will Come" on a request thread. (The phrase is said a lot, and "Whoa-oh Oh-oh" just doesn't make for as good of a song title.)
    • "Man on the Edge" isn't called "Falling Down" (though the movie that served as inspiration is).
    • They also never did a song called "I'm On My Way". They did, however, do one called "Wildest Dreams".
    • "Drifter" can also be found online as "Gonna Sing My Song".
    • "The Evil That Men Do" is not called "Livin' on a Razor's Edge".
    • This bootleg from the 1992 Fear of the Dark is guilty of the above, as well as "Sanctuary" is referred to as "Sanctuary From the Law" (the fact that Bruce Dickison is credited as a songwriter in that picture doesn't help either) and "The Clairvoyant" is "Time to Live Time to Die" (the only Maiden example here that's also a Non-Appearing Title). It's also funny how the bootleg is named "The Teenage Werewolf".
  • Michael Jackson:
    • "Smooth Criminal" is not "Annie Are You Okay". (This applies to Alien Ant Farm's cover, as well.)
    • Even though the words do appear in the song, one could be forgiven for thinking "Blood on the Dance Floor" is called "Susie Got Your Number".
  • James' best-known song to American audiences goes "but she only comes when she's on top", but is actually called "Laid". It's not called, "You Think You're So Pretty," either. And it is not a Matt Nathanson song.
  • The Jane's Addiction song is called "Ted, Just Admit It..." not "Nothing's Shocking". It doesn't help it the album it's on is called Nothing's Shocking. "Sex And Violence" and "Sex Is Violent" are also common guesses — though the sorta-remix of "Ted, Just Admit It..." on the Natural Born Killers soundtrack is called "Sex Is Violent".
  • That Jefferson Airplane song about Alice in Wonderland isn't called "Go Ask Alice". It's "White Rabbit".
  • "Domino", by Jessie J, is often known as "Dancing in the Moonlight" or "Dirty Dancing in the Moonlight", the first line of the chorus.
  • Jilted John's most famous song is called "Jilted John" and not "Gordon is a Moron"...
  • Billy Joel:
    • "River of Dreams" is often referred to as "Middle of the Night". "(In the) middle of the night" is repeated throughout the song; "river of dreams" appears only once, near the end.
    • Some people think the Billy Joel album The Stranger is called Movin' Out. "Movin' Out" is the first song on that album, and a catchy one. "The Stranger" is a different, quieter song on the album. The correct title of the song is "Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)", a rare instance where the item in parentheses is not the lyric people think is the title.
      • Nor is it called "Heart Attack(-ack-ack-ack)"
    • There's a song on The Stranger called "The Ballad of Brenda and Eddie". The full Billy Joel single, however, is "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant", after the bookends; and only "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant" appears in the official album listing.
  • Elton John's hit song "Someone Saved My Life Tonight" has occasionally been referred to as "Butterflies Are Free" due to the line being used occasionally throughout the song, despite the fact that the entire last minute or so is him constantly repeating the actual title. To compound the confusion, what he actually says in the song is "somebody saved my life tonight."
  • The George Jones song about a Corvette is not titled "Hotter Than a Two-Dollar Pistol". It's "The One I Loved Back Then (The Corvette Song)".
  • Journey:
    • "Don't Stop Believin'" is often referred to as "Midnight Train" or any variant on the first line "just a small-town girl"... It's also referred to as "Streetlight People" from the refrain. Also, the song's title was originally written as "Don't Stop Believing" on the album. Later re-releases and covers have used "Don't Stop Believin'".
    • It's "Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)", not "One day, love will find you". That song's title makes it an inversion of what the title makes you expect. "Worlds apart" is heard once in a verse, "separate ways" is repeated multiple times in the chorus.
    • It's "Faithfully", not "I'm Forever Yours."
  • Judas Priest usually averts the trope. However:
    • It's "Deceiver", not "Forever."
    • "Tyrant", not "Ev'ry Man Shall Fall."
    • "Killing Machine", not "I've Got a Contract on You."
    • "Rapid Fire", not "Second to None."
    • "Private Property", not "Hands Off."
    • "Demonizer", not "Out, Demons, Out."
  • Kansas's "Carry On Wayward Son" gets mislabelled as "Carry On My Wayward Son" so much that it even comes up on YouTube autocomplete when searching for the song.
  • Ke$ha never wrote a song called "Glitter in my Eyes", "Hot and Dangerous", or "DJ Turn it Up". The song with those phrases is called "We R Who We R". And in this case the title is actually prominent on the song, appearing "twice" on the chorus.
  • "What Goes Around, Comes Around" was never released by Alicia Keys. The song in question is called "Karma".
  • It's easy to think that Kid Rock's song "American Bad Ass" is called "Cowboy", since that word is heard prominently every time the chorus is repeated. Oddly enough, there is another Kid Rock song with "cowboy" heard frequently therein, and that one is called "Cowboy." Confusing.
  • There is no song by The Killers titled "(I've Got) Soul but I'm Not a Soldier" or "Gotta Help Me out". The song with both those lines (repeated in the bridge and chorus, respectively), is named for the last line, "All These Things That I've Done".
  • King Crimson has a thoroughly confusing example. On the album Red, there is a song entitled "Starless", which contains the phrase "Starless and Bible Black", which leads people to think that is the name of the song. It gets especially confusing because on their previous album, entitled Starless and Bible Black, there is a song with the same name that is simply an instrumental.
  • There's a song by J Pop artist Hirose Kohmi whose memetically mutated chorus prominently features the English words "Get down!" The song is, however, called "Promise".
  • Korn:
    • "Oildale (Leave Me Alone)" was first introduced to fans in concert as simply "Oildale", named after one of the areas the band members grew up in but having no relation to the lyrics. It was most likely just a working title that they never intended to use (as they've been known to do), but the fans grew attached to it, and there was backlash when there were reports that the song was going to be released as "Leave Me Alone", the most prominent line in the chorus. They eventually settled on the "Phrase 1 (Phrase 2)" format as a compromise.
    • "Freak On A Leash" is often known as "Something Takes A Part Of Me".
  • A television commercial for a cover album by Cristy Lane lists one of the songs on the album as "I Believe in Angels". Except that the song is actually called "I Have a Dream".
  • That song by Led Apple that repeats "Yesterday" in Gratuitous English quite a lot in the lyrics is actually titled (translated from Korean) "Someone Met by Chance".
  • Led Zeppelin have a few songs like this, since so many don't have the title in the lyrics at all.
    • The most obvious is "Black Dog" ("Hey hey mama said the way you move gonna make you sweat gonna make you groove...") It's named after a stray black dog that was wandering next to the studio.
    • "You Don't Have to Go" is actually "D'Yer Maker" (pronounced like "Jamaica").
    • They did in fact have an entire album with No Title. (variously known as Led Zeppelin IV, Four Symbols, Zoso, etc.)
    • One could be forgiven for thinking that "Fool in the Rain" is titled "The Love That I Found".
    • The honky-tonkish song with the bridge that consists of "Hey Babe" over and over is called "Boogie With Stu."
  • John Lennon and Yoko Ono's Christmas/anti-war song "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" is sometimes mislabelled as "So This Is Christmas", after the first line of the refrain.
    • You can catch the title of John Lennon's "Instant Karma!", as it's the first words of the song. But as it is sung rather fast, a lot of listeners pick up on the first words of the chorus instead: "And We All Shine On".
  • Live:
    • A very early song tends to be called "Give It Up" or "Let It Go" due to the words being uttered frequently during it. It's actually "Operation Spirit (Tyranny of Tradition)". Only one word of the actual title is used in the song, and it's in the first verse.
    • That song that many people think is called "Lay Me Down"? It's actually called "All Over You". Both phrases appear in the chorus, but the former gets more emphasis than the latter.
    • For that matter, the band's best-known song is not entitled "Oh Now Feel It Coming Back Again"; it's entitled "Lightning Crashes" (which are actually the first words in the song).
  • Ll Cool J's big hit is not "Don't Call It a Comeback," but "Mama Said Knock You Out". Though of course, if it's known as anything but "Mama Said Knock You Out," it's usually "I'm Gonna Knock You Out."
  • The Life Size Humans tune that appears in the current Philadelphia Cream Cheese commercials is not called "Spread a Little Joy" or "Spread a Little Love". It's called "Something to Remember".
  • Several Linkin Park songs, such as "Qwerty", "Figure.09", "Papercut", "Point Of Authority" and "Debris" have no mention of the title in the lyrics. In "Qwerty"'s case, many referred to the song as "Lies" before it was officially released. But the mistake isn't so justified when you accidentally call "What I've Done" "Mercy" or "In This Farewell". Or refer to "New Divide" as "Give Me Reason". Crawling is often known as "Crawling In My Skin".
  • Lit's most well known song isn't called "Sleeping With My Clothes On" or "And You're Gone". The song you want is "My Own Worst Enemy". The former two both appear in the chorus, while the latter only appears in the second verse.
  • "Bound For The Floor" by Local H is often referred to "Born To Be Down" or "Copacetic" — this is one of those Non-Appearing Title examples.
  • Loggins And Messina's oft-covered big hit "Danny's Song" never mentions Danny and is probably best known for its "Even though we ain't got money" chorus.
  • Many people don't know that, as opposed to what it's called in the Need For Speed Underground soundtrack, Lostprophets' "Ride" is actually named "To Hell We Ride".
  • The Stephen Lynch tune about a hideous infant is just called "Baby". Not "Ugly Baby", no matter what YouTube would have you believe.

    M-Z 
  • You'd think Macklemore's first hit song is named "Pop Some Tags" or perhaps "This Is Fucking Awesome" or the "Grandad's Clothes" song. It's actually titled "Thrift Shop".
    • Similarly, he never did anything called "She Keeps Me Warm", "Off-Black Cadillac" or "The City Never Looked So Bright". The first one is "Same Love" and the other two are "White Walls".
      • Mary Lambert, who sings "Same Love"'s chorus, did actually build a whole song around it called She Keeps Me Warm.
  • Madness's debut single is properly called "The Prince" (which appears once, at the very end... and not at all in the version which appears on most of their hit compilations), not "Orange Street" (which appears three times).
  • Madonna never did a song called "Spanish Lullaby"; you're looking for "La Isla Bonita". Also, many people misattribute it to Gloria Estefan.
  • Major Lazer featured Ricky Blaze and Nina Sky on "Keep It Goin' Louder", not "Party With You".
  • Barry Manilow's "Weekend in New England" is generally remembered by those who aren't fans of his as "When Will I Hold You Again?" It doesn't help that New England is mentioned only once in the lyrics, and the word "weekend" is never said at all.
  • The song by Marina And The Diamonds and Charli XCX is not "The Other Foot," despite the phrase repeated throughout the song, but "Just Desserts." An unnamed, unfinished version of the song that was leaked long before the song's actual release did not help.
  • Marianas Trench has a song with the refrain "Try a little more, little more, little more/Slap me like a bitch, and you take it like a whore/Upside-down and around and around/Just another piece till you need another sound." The song, however, is not called "Try A Little More". It's called "Shake Tramp" after a line in the second verse: "And you need that stamp, little handshake tramp."
  • Bob Marley and the Wailers' "Three Little Birds" is often called "Don't Worry About a Thing" or "Every Little Thing Is Gonna Be Alright". The "three little birds" of the title technically get mentioned twice, because both verses of the song are identical, but the chorus is still what sticks in most people's minds more.
  • Looking for The Mars Volta's "Roulette Dares (The Haunt Of)"? Better search for a song called "Exo Skeleton". That isn't the line either, it's "Exoskeletal junction at the railroad delayed".
  • The Matchbox 20 song "Real World" isn't titled "Please Don't Change" or "The Rainmaker." Especially confusing because there was a movie based on a John Grisham novel called "The Rainmaker" released just a few years before "Real World" was recorded.
  • Matt Nathanson:
    • Are you having trouble finding "Rattle My Bones"? Of course you are, because it's really "Faster".
    • You might also have trouble finding the Sugarland collaboration because you're searching "I Run to You", which is actually a song by another band.
  • Tim McGraw did a track titled "Something Like That" — and called "Barbeque Stain".
  • Erin Mc Keown's "Queen of Quiet" is better known for its refrain, "What kind of lover am I?" The title is spoken only once, as the last of many lead-ins to the more repeated phrase.
  • Sarah McLachlan:
    • "Angel" is not called "In the Arms of the Angel", nor "Adopt an Animal Or You Have No Soul," despite what the ASPCA would have you think.
    • There is no song titled "I'll Take Your Breath Away." The title is "Possession."
  • Don McLean:
    • "American Pie" is often mistakenly called "The Day the Music Died".
    • "Vincent" is not titled "Starry Starry Night".
  • Meat Loaf's song "You Took the Words Right out of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night)" often gets the second part omitted when being referenced.
  • John Mellencamp:
    • That famous song isn't called "Ain't That America?". It's called "Pink Houses", and those words do actually appear in the chorus. It doesn't help at all that John invites the audience to sing "ain't that American" with him, while he sings "little Pink Houses for you and me" as low key as possible during concerts.
    • Nor is his other famous song called "Life Goes On" (or a variant). It's "Jack and Diane".
  • Men At Work:
    • Their third-biggest hit is called "Overkill", not "Day After Day".
    • "Down Under" is not "Land Down Under".
  • Metallica
    • "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)" (only "Sanitarium" appears in the chorus).
    • "Disposable Heroes" is not called "Back to the Front" (the band has been known to make fun of this confusion in their own live shows)
    • "Enter Sandman" is not "Enter Night, Exit Light" or "Off To Never-Never Land".
  • MGMT's "Kids" is not called "Take Only What You Need".
  • M.I.A.'s best-known song is not called "All I Wanna Do *Bang* *Bang* *Bang* *Bang*" nor is it called "Paper Airplanes", or "I Fly Like Paper, Get High Like Planes". It's "Paper Planes".
  • That saxophone-heavy song by George Michael (credited as "Wham! featuring George Michael" in the U.S.) is not titled "I'm Never Gonna Dance Again" or "Guilty Feet Have Got No Rhythm". It's titled "Careless Whisper", which appears only once in the lyrics in a single verse.
  • Bette Midler's "The Rose" (title from the last words of the song) is sometimes misnamed "Some Say Love" (title from the first words of the song).
  • It's "Lez Be Friends" by The Midnight Beast, not "She Must Be a Lesbian".
  • "The Impression That I Get" by The Mighty Mighty Bosstones is sometimes mistakenly called "Never Had To Knock On Wood". Both phrases are in the chorus, it's just that the latter is the catchier part of it.
  • Happens often to Kylie Minogue songs with any airplay:
    • "Better Than Today" is not called "Feel It, See It", even though the title is dropped a grand total of once.
    • "Red Blooded Woman": the phrase is sung unintelligibly in the chorus and said once as background, making quite a few stations to name it "Freakin' Around".
    • The duet with Robbie Williams is named "Kids" not "Jump On Board".
  • Joni Mitchell:
    • Almost nobody seems to know that the oft-covered song is called "Big Yellow Taxi". Understandable, considering the phrase only appears once in the entire (quite lengthy) song, towards the end. Some people end up calling this something along the lines of "You Don't Know What You've Got 'Til It's Gone". Including Janet Jackson. Others refer to the song as "They Paved Paradise and Put Up a Parking Lot", which is the line that starts the song and ends each chorus.
    • "Both Sides Now" is an inversion; it's also known as "Clouds" (the name of the CD and subject of the first verse) despite "Both Sides Now" being in all the choruses. In at least one live performance of the song, Mitchell herself introduced the song saying, "Here's a song that has two titles — 'Clouds' and 'Both Sides Now' — and both are correct." So, there you have it.
      • The Joni Mitchell version is actually called "Both Sides, Now"; cover versions omit the comma (and use a tune for the chorus which is slightly, but noticeably, different from the one Mitchell wrote).
  • Hardly anyone remembers Domenico Modugno's that "Volare" started out as "Nel blu dipinto di blu" (the line immediately following the "Volare, oh-oh, cantare, oh-oh-oh-oh" bit). Neither do most people know that it premiered at the 1958 Eurovision Song Contest, and that it only went third on the night.
  • The Monkees and their members:
    • "Daydream Believer" is not called "Cheer Up, Sleepy Jean."
    • The end theme of the TV series is called "For Pete's Sake", not "In This Generation".
    • Micky Dolenz wrote the song entitled "Randy Scouse Git" (or, in the U.K., "Alternative Title" as people there actually knew what the phrase meant; most people in the U.S., and Micky himself (who had heard it on a British TV show), did not). If you didn't know the title, you might be forgiven for believing the title to be "Why Don't You Cut Your Hair?" Since the show in question (Till Death Do Us Part) was later adapted for American TV as "All in the Family", had Mickey been a Brit visiting the US a few years later, the title might have been "Pinko Polack Meathead".
    • Oh, so very, very many Michael Nesmith songs, from before, during, and after his time with The Monkees:
      • "Papa Gene's Blues", "Nine Times Blue", "Daily Nightly", "Auntie's Municipal Court", "Tapioca Tundra", "Writing Wrongs", "Never Tell a Woman Yes", "Admiral Mike", "The Crippled Lion", "Hollywood", "Carlisle Wheeling", "Propinquity", "Some of Shelley's Blues", "Cruisin'" (a.k.a. "Lucy and Ramona")....
      • At one point his record label supervisor told him to knock it off and write songs that were "just good clean fun," so Nez wrote a song called "Good Clean Fun" that still didn't have those words in the lyrics. Nez is awesome.
  • The Monster Magnet song is not "Space Lord Motherfucker," it's just "Space Lord."
  • Of Montreal's songs, particularly from their later albums, invoke this frequently. "Heimdalsgate Like a Promethean Curse"? "Requiem for O.M.M. 2"? "Wraith Pinned to the Mist (and Other Games)"? None of those phrases even appear in the lyrics. Many contain words that aren't in the dictionary. Averted by their song "Coquet Coquette".
  • The Moody Blues:
    • "Tuesday Afternoon" was truly and originally given the much better, more poetic and evocative title "Forever Afternoon (Tuesday?)" in its original recording. Apparently misnomers became so common that it ended up causing officially released compilations to have the song be called "Tuesday Afternoon" or occasionally "Forever Afternoon".
    • It's "Legend of a Mind", not "Timothy Leary" or "Timothy Leary's Dead".
    • It's "Your Wildest Dreams", not "Once Upon a Time"
  • Alanis Morrisette didn't do a song called "Isn't It Ironic". It's called "Ironic".
  • That song by Van Morrison is not called "I'm In Heaven When You Smile", but "Jackie Wilson Said".
  • Mr Scruff's Non-Appearing Title song is "Get a Move On", not "You've Got to Keep Moving".
  • Mudvayne's "Determined" is commonly mislabeled as "Fucking Determined".
  • Muse:
    • That song with the chorus that goes "I want it now... I want it now..." is not called that, it's called "Hysteria". "I Want It Now" is the song's subtitle in its American release. However, "I Want It Now" was the song's working title.
    • The song that goes "It's a new dawn, it's a new day" is called "Feeling Good". Second of all, it's a Nina Simone cover. Thirdly, Nina Simone covered the song from a musical by Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse called The Roar Of The Greasepaint The Smell Of The Crowd of which all but that song appears to have sunk without trace.
    • Their The Resistance single "Uprising" is not called "Victorious", (Or "We Will Not Fall", or "The Paranoia is in Bloom") as Entertainment Weekly Magazine seems to think. This mistake was caused by the last verse of the chorus being "We will be victorious", with the last word being given a very clear intonation. Also, the song's actual title is a Non-Appearing Title.
  • My Chemical Romance:
    • It's "Helena", not "So Long and Goodnight". The latter title has been used as a subtitle, though.
    • Subverted: They do have a song called "It's Not a Fashion Statement, It's a Fucking Deathwish". The confusion comes from how the song is listed on the back of the CD, which is normally censored if it contains profanity.
    • "Thank You for the Venom" is not called "Give Me All Your Poison".
    • "I Never Told You What I Do for a Living" is apparently sometimes referred to as "You Don't Know What I Do for a Living". This is probably more of Title Confusion, since neither line appears in the lyrics.
    • People sometimes omit the subtitle when talking about "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)".
    • The amount of MCR songs from their first three albums that have the title in the song can be counted on one hand.
  • My Friend The Chocolate Cake's "A Midlife's Tale" is commonly known by the refrain "(He's got to) Get it back now".
  • Some of Miyuki Nakajima's albums come with translation booklets. Normally, the title is translated directly from Japanese into English in said booklets, although some song names follow this trope. For instance, the translation of "Alone, Please" is re-titled "Leave Me Alone, Please", and the translation "Hitori de umarete kita no dakara" is re-titled "Jasmine".
  • Nazareth's "Hair of the Dog" is more commonly known as "Son of a Bitch," thanks to its prominent use in the chorus. The band wanted to name the song "Son of a Bitch" from the start, but their label wouldn't allow it. To get around this, Nazareth decided to name the song something that, phonetically, comes very close to "Heir of the Dog," which is another term for...
  • Ne-Yo never did anything called "I Just Can't Stop". It's "Closer" you want.
  • "All Downhill from Here" by New Found Glory narrowly averted this trope. The original title was supposed to be "Catalyst" (which does appear in the refrain but is more difficult to understand than the title phrase), but their manager suggested to use the more recognizable line "All Downhill from Here" instead.
  • "Political Science" by Randy Newman is incorrectly known by many by its oft-repeated line "Let's Drop the Big One Now".
  • New Order seems particularly fond of song titles that appear nowhere in the lyrics:
    • "Bizarre Love Triangle" is popularly known as "Every Time I See You Falling".
    • "Blue Monday" isn't "How does it feel..."
    • "True Faith" isn't "I used to think that the day would never come..."
  • The New Radicals' only hit song is called "You Get What You Give", not "You Got The Music In You" or "You Only Get What You Give".
  • Who thought that the Stevie Nicks song "Edge of Seventeen" was named "Just Like the White Winged Dove"? Of course, the latter (often used as a subtitle) appears in the chorus, while the former, and actual title, only appears once or twice throughout the song, and only in the verses.
  • The Night Ranger song "Sister Christian" is not called "Motoring", or as some people believe, the mondegreen "Motorade".
  • Nightwish:
    • "The Escapist" is not called "A Nightingale in a Golden Cage" or "Reality's Maze" or "Bring Me Back to Life" or any other phrase from the chorus. "Escapist" (no "the") does appear once in the lyrics, in the second verse ("This is who I am, escapist, paradise seeker").
    • The first song on Dark Passion Play is "The Poet and the Pendulum", not "Getaway, Runaway, Fly Away" or any other line from the chorus. The actual title never appears in the lyrics — they refer to a "poet", and the title refers to Edgar Allan Poe's short story "The Pit and the Pendulum", which is also alluded to many times in the lyrics. The word "pendulum" never appears in the lyrics either, though it is alluded to with lines like "Swaying blade my lullaby" and "The blade will keep on descending".
    • Despite "Those meadows of heaven" being a line in the song, "Meadows of Heaven" is a completely different song.
    • Imaginaerum:
      • The single is titled "Storytime", a Non-Appearing Title. It might be mistakenly called "I Am the Voice of Never Never Land", which is the first line of the refrain.
      • "The Crow, the Owl and the Dove" is not titled "Don't Give Me Love"
      • "Song of Myself" (the penultimate song) also has a Non-Appearing Title, though "song of me" is mentioned in the lyrics many times.
      • "Scaretale" is a Non-Appearing Title, though it's hard to pick anything that WOULD be mistaken for the title of that song, since it doesn't really have a chorus or any repeating lines or phrases. It might be titled "Once Upon a Time in a Daymare" or some variation, after the first line of the song.
  • Nile:
    • There is a song called "Kafir", which is the Arabic word meaning "infidel", and while it does include the word itself, is sometimes mistakenly referred to by the main refrain of the chorus, "There Is No God".
    • They have a song on the album Amongst The Catacombs of Nephren-Ka that includes that very phrase, but in fact is titled "Beneath Eternal Oceans of Sand".
  • Nine Days' "Absolutely" gets called "Story of a Girl" or "When She Smiles". "Story of a Girl" is the official subtitle, but people use it who ignore the main title completely.
  • Nine Inch Nails:
    • "Closer" is sometimes referred to as "I wanna fuck you like an animal", the most obvious and memorable line in the chorus. "You get me closer to God" is also included. Not helped by the fact that the version that appeared on the EP was called Closer To God. As was the EP.
    • "Wish" may be mistakenly called "The First Day of My Last Days".
    • While "Closer" and "Wish" at the very least contain their titles somewhere in the lyrics, "Heresy" is most applicable to this trope as it does not contain the word anywhere in the song and often gets referred to by a line from the chorus - "god is dead".
    • Piggy - prominently repeats the line "nothing can stop me now" at least twenty times and only utters the word "piggy" twice, in the first verse.
  • Nitty Gritty Dirt Band never recorded a song called "Coconut Grove" or the like. The song is actually called "An American Dream".
  • Nirvana:
    • They never did a song called "Entertain Us", nor "Waif Me". The first one's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" (yes, even that song is called by the wrong name sometimes), the last one is "Rape Me" but the title was altered for Walmart to sell In Utero. (A few people called "Smells Like Teen Spirit" as "Hello, Hello". But, in the defense of those few people, those are just about the only words in the song that you can actually understand.)
    • "Come As You Are", not "Memoria" or "Don't Have a Gun".
    • "Lithium", not "I'm Not Gonna Crack", or "I'm So Happy, 'Cause Today I Found My Friends..."
    • "All Apologies", not "In the Sun, Buried".
  • No Doubt:
    • The hit song they recorded for the 1999 indie film Go is not called "You're So New". It's simply called "New".
    • They do not have a song called "Keep on Dancin". It's "Hella Good," which is sung in the chorus right before "Keep on Dancin'"
  • Gary Numan's biggest hit was called "Cars", not "Here in My Car". And it is not by The Cars. (This is a surprisingly common error, even though Gary Numan and Ric Ocasek sound nothing alike...)
  • The Offspring:
    • "Come Out and Play" is often mistaken as "Keep 'Em Separated". That's its subtitle, though.
    • It's called "You're Gonna Go Far, Kid", not "Right Between the Eyes" or "Hit 'Em Right Between the Eyes".
    • "My Friend's Got a Girlfriend" is actually "Why Don't You Get a Job?".
  • Of Monsters And Men's "Little Talks". The phrase appears once, in the middle of the second verse. It's more likely to be referred to as "Don't Listen to a Word I Say" (from the prechorus) or "Though the Truth May Vary" or "Safe to Shore" (from the chorus).
  • Oingo Boingo's song "No One Lives Forever" is often thought to be titled "Hour of the Wolf". Seeing as the former appears in the song twice as often, the only logical explanation is "Hour of the Wolf" is just a cooler title.
  • OK Go's "This Too Shall Pass" is not named for the more emphasized line that comes after the title in the chorus, "When the morning comes".
  • OMC's one hit is not called "Every Time I Look Around", but "How Bizarre". How bizarre, how bizarre.
  • "One Man Army" by Our Lady Peace is commonly mistaken as "Falling" or "I Remember Falling", even though the title and the secondary titles are repeated an almost equal number of times.
  • Roy Orbison did not have a hit called "Pretty Woman". The song you're thinking of is actually called "Oh! Pretty Woman".
  • Many people do know by now that the "Numa Numa" song is "Dragostea Din Tei" by O-Zone; but, for a long time, it was just "Numa Numa" or Mai Ya hee" to everyone. And Memetic Mutation has kicked in so firmly on this one that for many, it may remain "Numa Numa" forever. Plus, "Numa Numa" is easier (for English-speakers) to say and people are lazy.
  • Panic! at the Disco:
    • Almost none the songs on their first album, A Fever You Can't Sweat out, have their titles in their lyrics. The titles often rhyme with the choruses. "I Write Sins Not Tragedies", for example, half-rhymes with the end of the chorus, "poise and rationality". Then there are titles like "There's a Good Reason These Tables Are Numbered, Honey, You Just Haven't Figured It out Yet".
    • A lot of their song titles are drawn from literature and movies, mostly for completely unrelated reasons; "Lying Is the Most Fun a Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes off" comes from the movie Closer, as does "But It's Better If You Do".
  • That song by Paramore with the hook "Badada-badada-dada!" is not "Bury the Castle". It's "Brick by Boring Brick". (And the lyric is actually "Parapa-para-pa-para".)
  • Pavement:
    • "Silence Kit" is often mistakenly referred to as "Silence Kid" or "Silent Kid." These titles come from both a smudge on the back of the album that makes the "t" difficult to make out as well as the first two words of the song being "Silent kid".
    • "Motion Suggests Itself" is often mistakenly called "Motion Suggests" (which is already a Non-Appearing Title). The last word of the title was accidentally left off the original track listing, but is present on the 2006 deluxe edition.
  • Pearl Jam's acoustic, waltz-tempo ballad with the refrain "Hearts and thoughts, they fade, fade away" is called "Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town".
  • Thanks to Eddie Murphy's hilarious impression of Teddy Pendergrass in Delirious, many people mistakenly believe his song "Only You" is called "You Got What I Need".
  • Michael Penn (Sean’s younger brother) did not have a late-’80s hit called "Romeo In Black Jeans" or "Someone To Dance With". The actual title, "No Myth", is dropped in the line between the two containing those phrases.
  • The Pet Shop Boys' "Opportunities" is commonly known as "Let's Make Lots of Money".
  • The Tom Petty song frequently referred to as "Last Dance with Mary Jane" is actually called "Mary Jane's Last Dance", a phrase that doesn't appear anywhere in the song.
  • Pink Floyd:
    • "We Don't Need No Education" is actually "Another Brick in The Wall, Pt. II".
    • "Dirty Woman" is actually "Young Lust".
    • "Riding the Gravy Train" is actually "Have a Cigar".
    • "The Dark Side of the Moon" (for the Album Title Drop that is part of the song's only repeated line) is actually titled "Brain Damage" (which doesn't appear in the lyrics). On radio stations, the latter song is often played with "Eclipse". note 
  • Placebo:
    • Most people refer to one song as "Every Me and Every You" because that's how the chorus seems to go. On the back of the CD case, it's called "Every You, Every Me" and if you listen to the choruse carefully, you'll hear the end of the chorus goes "every me and every you, every me." Other people think it's called "Sucker Love" after the first two words of each verse.
    • Few people appear to know that the song "Pure Morning" is called "Pure Morning" and not "A Friend In Need", even though the latter line is sung at the start of every verse.
  • "The Damned" by Plasmatics is often referred to as "Prisoners of the Damned".
  • The Police:
    • They never did a song called "Many Miles Away." The actual title is "Synchronicity II".
    • They do not have a song called "I'll Be Watching You". The actual title is "Every Breath You Take". This is arguably because the Puff Daddy song that sampled it, "I'll Be Missing You," takes its title from the parallel part of the chorus. (And while we're at it, it's not a romantic song either.)
    • "Message in a Bottle" is not "Sending out an SOS"; the former is the title and is in the chorus, with the latter being repeated in the end.
  • The Polyphonic Spree apparently subscribes to the serial-number school of song titling, meaning that very nearly their entire repertoire falls under this trope. Outside of album track listings, they do refer to their songs by the subtitles; "Section 9 (Light & Day/ Reach for the Sun)", for example, is just "Light & Day" on the single or when Tim DeLaughter speaks in person. Also, songs that aren't on their main albums don't have section numbers ("I'm Calling" or assorted concert-only pieces). The only really tricky thing is that Sections 20 and 21 are both called "Together We're Heavy"; 20 is the title track for their 2nd album, while 21 is the prologue to their 3rd.
  • Porcupine Tree song "Anesthesize" is NOT "Only Apathy"
  • Portishead gets this a lot as well. Off of their debut album Dummy, we have:
    • "Sour Times" mistaken as "Nobody Loves Me".
    • "Strangers" mistaken as "Did You Realize" and "Done It Warning".
    • "Glory Box" mistaken as "Give Me a Reason" and occasionally "Woman".
  • The song sometimes referred to as "Please Don't Let them Hurt Your Children," is actually called "Dear Mr. Jesus" by Power Source/Sharon Batts.
  • The Pretenders:
    • Some think "Brass in Pocket" was called "Gonna Make You Notice". It's been listed on Don't Forget The Lyrics as "Brass in Pocket (I'm Special)".
    • There's no such song as "Ohio", or even "Back to Ohio". It's "My City Was Gone".
  • One of Primus' earliest songs is called "The Heckler" (recorded live on Suck On This; a studio version wouldn't be done until 1999, as a Hidden Track on Antipop); however, it's often referred to as the "Just A Matter Of Opinion" song.
    • It's not "The Nature Of Things"; the official name is "Glass Sandwich".
  • The Proclaimers don't have a song called "500 Miles". They do, however, have a song called "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)".
  • The Prodigy: "Music Reach (1/2/3/4)"
  • Puddle of Mudd's most famous song is not called "Take It All Away". It's called "Blurry", but since the title is only the third word in the song (and only appears that one time), and the latter is the refrain, it's no wonder why "Take It All Away" is a secondary title.
  • Queen:
    • Queen did not perform a song called "We'll Keep on Trying". The song is called "Innuendo".
    • They also did not perform a song called "I Want to Ride My Bicycle". That song is called "Bicycle Race", which is said several times in the bridge, but very quickly and weirdly stressed, and once at the end.
    • It's "Flash's Theme", not just "Flash". The album version is "Flash's Theme", but the single edit with the memorable quotes from throughout the movie IS simply called "Flash".
    • "You're My Best Friend" is often referred to as "Oooh, You're Making Me Live"; they're both in the refrain, but the latter is said more.
    • As surprising as it may seem (being that it's easily one of their most popular songs), there are people who refer to "Bohemian Rhapsody" as either "Nothing Really Matters" and occasionally "Mama" after the only lyric repeated throughout the different parts of the song and the lyric said repeatedly in what's the closest thing to a chorus in the entire song, respectively. Of course, there's also "Galileo", "I'm Just a Poor Boy", "Can't Do This To Me Baby", etc. We would be here all day if we were to list all of the titles the song could potentially be mislabeled; alas the curse of popular music.
    • Likewise, there is no song "Don't you hear me calling". It is "'39".
    • An inversion/zig-zag: "We Will Rock You", arguably their most famous song, was the B-side to "We Are The Champions", and the two are almost always played together on the radio. This is also how they are arranged on News of the World, and were also typically played back-to-back in concert. This leads to some people assuming "We Are The Champions" is the title of one big song, and incorrectly assuming that other people are incorrectly assuming the title to the second part is "We Will Rock You"; or vice versa.
  • Radiohead:
    • "Just" is sometimes appended with "(You Do It to Yourself)". Former: 3 times. Latter: 15. Its often called this by American alternative radio disk jockeys.
    • "Street Spirit (Fade Out)" often gets vshortened to "Fade Out".
    • Their biggest hit "Creep" often appears on filesharing sites as "So Fucking Special" after its best known lyric.
  • A lot of people seem to think The Ramones' best-known song, "Blitzkrieg Bop", is called "Hey Ho Let's Go".
  • Redgum's "A Walk in the Light Green" is commonly known as "I Was Only Nineteen", as the real title is a Non-Appearing Title. The cover by The Herd is listed as "I Was Only Nineteen".
  • Reel Big Fish:
    • "You Don't Know" sometimes gets referred to as some variation of "Fuck Off" or "The Fuck Off Song". It must be the profanity, because the line "You Don't Know" is said more than "Fuck Off" in the song by a good margin.
    • "Cheer Up" has been called "I Got a Funny Feelin'". The words "Cheer up" only occur once, at the very end of the song.
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers:
    • "By the Way" has been called "Under the Marquee", or "Standing In Line".
    • "Under the Bridge" is called quite a few different things. These include "City of Angels", which occurs fewer times in the lyrics than the title but is enunciated more clearly. There's also "Take Me To The Place I Love." (And of course, thanks to the Weird Al Effect, there are many people who know it only as "Yabba-Dabba-Doo Now" by - who else - "Weird Al" Yankovic.)
    • "Dani California" is often called "California Rest in Peace". The former is the actual title, and appears once in the second verse. The latter is the first line of the refrain.
    • "The Adventures of Raindance Maggie" runs into this, one could call it "Make it Rain Somehow". The titular character is referred to as Maggie only in the chorus.
    • "Battleship" used to be called "Blowjob Park" but the record company made them use a non-obscene title, even though they kept the original lyrics.
    • "Special Secret Song Inside" is a similar situation to "Battleship", except that it reverted to its original title "Party On Your Pussy" on the 2004 remaster of The Uplift Mofo Party Plan. It is likely the band wanted it changed back out of respect to the song's late guitarist Hillel Slovak, who loved the song.
  • R.E.M.'s song "Supernatural Superserious" was named by a member of Coldplay, helping it avert this trope (it was originally called "Disguise", which would have been difficult to guess from the lyrics).
    • Losing My Religion was frequently known as "That's me in the corner" or "Oh life", especially in areas with large religious populations where the original title might be considered blasphemy.
    • The Great Beyond was frequently miscredited as "I'm Pushing An Elephant Up The Stairs".
    • Imitation Of Life was known by just about every line in its chorus including "That Sugar Cane" or "No one can see you cry"
    • The One I Love has been known as "This One Goes Out To The One I Love" or "Fire". The band were probably aware of the fact that people would have referred to it by the title "The One I Love" when they wrote it. Interestingly, they did title it "This One Goes Out" on a live B Side.
  • Rise Against:
    • "The Good Left Undone" is not called "All Because of You".
    • Despite the heavy repeated use of the line in the bridge and near the end, "Savior" is not "I Don't Hate You".
  • Luckily, The Rolling Stones have fans who know the real titles of "Pleased to meet You," "You Make a Grown Man Cry" "Take me down, Little Suzie." They are respectively "Sympathy for the Devil," "Start Me Up" and the less-memorable "Dead Flowers."
  • Even many die-hard Rush fans will mistakenly refer to "Red Barchetta" as "Ride Like the Wind".
  • Did you think Patrice Rushen's sole hit was called "Send Me Forget Me-Nots"? Well, it's actually called "Forget Me-Nots".
  • Adam Sandler's novelty song "Ode To My Car", as opposed to the less album-liner-friendly "Piece of Shit Car".
  • Savage's "Let Me See Your Hips Swing" is actually just "Swing".
  • Savage Garden:
    • "I Want You" is almost exclusively remembered as "Chica Cherry Cola" (or some spelling variant), despite the fact that "I Want You" is most of the chorus and "Chica Cherry Cola" is in the bridge once. This is likely because "Chica Cherry Cola" is distinctive, and "I Want You" is more generic. (The Savage Garden song doesn't have a "She's So Heavy" section, does it?)
    • It's "Affirmation", not "I Believe".
  • Leo Sayer's first hit was "Long Tall Glasses (I Can Dance)", not "I Know I Can Dance".
  • Joey Scarbury's most famous song is only subtitled "Believe It or Not". It's more properly known as the "Theme to The Greatest American Hero".
  • Discussed in "If Love Is Real" by Peter Schickele:
    This song's refrain is obviously "Oh my, oh me,"
    And yet that's not the title of the song;
    The title happens to be "If Love Is Real,"
    Which is really quite hard to believe,
    'Cause usually the title of the song is the refrain, you see.
    Oh my, oh me!
  • That S Club (S Club 7 at the time of recording) song is just called "Reach", not "Reach for the Stars".
    • This troper (LaptopGuy) has gone to a summer camp where "Reach" is basically the closest thing it has to a theme song. And, to pretty much the entire camp, the song is known as "Reach For The Stars." Talk about one trope affecting the population of an entire camp.
  • The techno tune with the Looped Lyrics "I've got the hots for you" is "Theme from S-Express" by S-Express.
  • The Script's big hit is "Breakeven," not "Falling To Pieces."
  • Shinedown didn't record a song called "4:03". They did, however, record "If You Only Knew".
  • Shiny Toy Guns:
    • "Le Disko" is not called "Supersonic Overdrive".
    • "We Are Pilots", not "Who I Am".
    • "When They Came for Us", not "When They Took the Beach" or "Shiny Toy Guns".
  • Shiv-r's song "Arise" is not called "Breathe". It doesn't help that 'arise' is only said once, while 'breathe' is basically most of the chorus.
  • Sigue Sigue Sputnik's only song of note (debateable) is called "Love Missile F1-11," not "Shoot It Up."
  • "Wind Beneath My Wings" by Jeff Silbar and Larry Henley is often called "Hero" (or some other variation on "Did you ever know that you're my hero", the first line of the chorus). A cover version by Gladys Knight And The Pips actually did use the title "Hero", but the official title is still "Wind Beneath My Wings" (which appears at the end of the chorus).
  • Simon & Garfunkel:
    • "Kathy's Song" never mentions Kathy in its lyrics (though she is mentioned in a different song of theirs, "America", just to add to the confusion).
    • "The 59th Street Bridge Song" is better known as "Feelin' Groovy". In listings on Simon & Garfunkel CDs and the like, it's usually listed as "The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)". Covers of that song are often listed under the false title.
    • That "Lie la lie - [BOOM!] - lie la lie lie, lie la lie" song? "The Boxer". There is one mention of "a boxer" in the lyrics, but that's it.
  • Simple Plan's "Untitled" is commonly referred to as "How Could This Happen to Me?" or "Untitled (How Could This Happen to Me?)", but when the album was originally released, it was simply "Untitled". Also, the song is actually an anti-drink-driving song, despite what many people on the internet will tell you — the music video makes it clear what the song's really about.
  • Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York" is often referred to as "Start Spreading the News". It didn't help that the "start spreading the news" part of the song was featured in a Philadelphia Cream Cheese commercial. Nor does it help that there are other songs titled "New York, New York", the most notable one being from the musical On the Town, whose film version featured Frank Sinatra. That song is often mistakenly called "It's a Hell of a Town", Also "Forget Domani" is often called "Let Forget About Tomorrow"
  • Skid Row's "I Remember You" (the end of the refrain) is occasionally labeled incorrectly as "Remember Yesterday" (The start of the refrain).
  • The Small Faces' lone U.S. hit was "Itchykoo Park", not "It's All Too Beautiful" (or "We'll get high," which is unsurprisingly the part most people remember, both for being a drug reference and the fact that the lead singer practically screams it).
  • The Smashing Pumpkins:
    • "Bullet with Butterfly Wings" is better known as "some variation on 'Rat in a Cage'". "The World is a Vampire" is quite common too.
    • "Disarm", another one of their biggest hits, gets quite commonly labelled as "(The) Killer in Me (is the Killer in You)". The title is dropped in the first line ("Disarm you with a smile") which also has the tendency to be used as the title itself.
    • No, the song is not "We Must Never Be Apart", but rather "Ava Adore".
  • Smash Mouth did not do a song called "All That Glitters" or "Shooting Stars"; that's "All Star". For extra irony, most people who aren't familiar with Smash Mouth associate that song with the 2001 animated movie Shrek (since it plays over the opening credits), even though that song was heard two years earlier over the closing credits of Mystery Men.
  • The Smiths:
    • The song that was (in Covered Up form by Love Spit Love) used as the theme for Charmed? Its name isn't "Shut Your Mouth" or "I Am Human". It's "How Soon Is Now?".
    • If you want to find "Panic", you're better off searching for a fictional song called 'Hang The DJ'.
  • Popular DJ Sonique never had a song called "Your Love It Feels So Good". Nor did she ever have a song called "And That's What Takes Me High." It's called "It Feels So Good".
  • Soul Asylum's "Misery" is misnamed "Frustrated Incorporated".
  • The classic Spice Girls song is just called "Wannabe", not "If You Wanna Be My Lover" or "I'll Tell You What I Want".
  • Spin Doctors:
    • The song featuring the line "I've got a pocket full of kryptonite" is entitled "Jimmy Olsen's Blues." Made more confusing by being on an album called Pocket Full of Kryptonite.
    • Biggest-ever hit for this band, same album: It's widely thought to be called "Just Go Ahead Now" or after the phrase that ends each line in the chorus. It's not called "If You Want to Call Me Baby", either. It's actually called "Two Princes", which appears in the opening line of the first verse.
  • The Spinto Band's "Japan Is An Island" is sometimes identified as "Atari". Atari is frequently mentioned in the chorus, while the phrase "Japan is an island" is just sung once in the first verse. It doesn't help that it's a Hidden Track, or that an early version of the song that the band themselves once released as a free MP3 was in fact called "Atari". Possibly they changed the title for its commercial release as a way of Writing Around Trademarks.
  • That Bruce Springsteen song which has also been covered by The Hollies is not named "Sandy" but "4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)". The "(Sandy)" part is sometimes omitted altogether, despite being the only bit of the title that actually appears in the lyrics.

    The Hollies compilation album Epic Anthology lists the title as simply "Sandy". However, the album on which their version originally appeared, Another Night, gets the title correct.
    • Springsteen's "America" is often mistakenly called "Coming to America"; the Eddie Murphy movie with that title adds to the confusion. That song, of course, shares its title with the old patriotic hymn "America" - which it quotes at great length - but, ironically, that one gets called "My Country 'Tis of Thee."
  • Squeeze have a song called "Black Coffee in Bed". Black is not added until near the end. This song might also be called "Stain on My Notebook".
  • Billy Squier's first hit is called "The Stroke," not "Stroke Me."
  • The Dave Stamey song "Blackjack" is about a mule who, per the refrain, "worked in the syndicate mine."
  • Steely Dan's song is called "Peg", not "Your Favorite Foreign Movie".
  • "Mississippi Squirrel Revival" by Ray Stevens is commonly assumed to be called "The Day the Squirrel Went Berserk", which is the first line of the chorus.
  • The Steve Miller Band:
    • Inverted with "The Joker". "I'm a Joker" actually is in the refrain, but its name is often confused with "Space Cowboy", a completely different song that was being referenced in the first verse exactly one time, along with like, five others. It's not called "Midnight Toker," either. The song just has so many factors working against it, from a teenaged Homer Simpson (very poorly) singing it as he drives to school in the 1970s flashback episode "The Way We Was" and being cut off long before he can get to the "Joker" part, to an indie movie in the late 1990s called The Pompatus of Love, which is based on one of the other monikers in the song.
    • There is a song named "Fly Like an Eagle", not "Time Keeps on Slippin'" (both are said often).
  • Sting: Thanks in large part to its use in numerous YouTube Anime Music Videos related in some way to the color red, "Desert Rose" is often known as "I Dream of Red"...which aren't even the right lyrics. (It's "I dream of rain", if you were wondering).
  • Stone Temple Pilots is infamous for this trope. Many of their songs like "Plush" and "Big Empty" don't have anything remotely close to the title anywhere in the lyrics. And then you have songs like "Sour Girl" (sometimes mistakenly called "What Would You Do") and "Creep" (AKA "Half the Man I Used to Be"), which do have the title in the lyrics, but only once or twice in on of the verses, not in the refrain.
  • George Strait's "Love Without End, Amen" is often mistakenly referred to as "A Father's Love".
  • Sum 41:
    • "88" (a Non-Appearing Title) is not called "I Feel Like a Prisoner", "I Hope Someday You Have It All" or any other phrase that appears in the refrain.
    • It's "Fat Lip", not "Waste My Time" or "El Nino" or "Don't Count on Me" or "Should've Had an Abortion".
  • You know that Super Junior song that everyone thinks is called "Bonamana"? That's only the subtitle. The official title is "Beauty (BONAMANA)", with the "BONAMANA" written in capitals (and in English letters, while the "Beauty" part is written in Hangul, in Korean). Since most people outside of Korea can't read Hangul, they just refer to the song as the part they can read.
  • The title of Supertramp's "Breakfast in America" never appears in that specific form in the lyrics. Most people seem to think the title is "Take a Look at My Girlfriend".

    The very same wrong title is often mistakenly given to Gym Class Heroes' popular single "Cupid's Chokehold", where the Supertramp song's first few lines are sung as a chorus by Fall Out Boy's Patrick Stump.
  • Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran's duet isn't called any variation on "I Just Wanna Know You Better Now", which is repeated several times before the chorus, it's called "Everything Has Changed."
  • System of a Down has this problem with several of their songs, since a lot of them are named different then the prominent lyrics (and a lot of the verses are hard to understand).
    • At no time are the words "chop suey" ever mentioned in "Chop Suey", which may well explain why it's been called "When Angels Deserve to Die". Those words are the last line of the refrain, though; and it seems to be part of the central meaning to the song's lyrics. Also there's "Wake Up!", "I Don't Think You Trust," and "Self-Righteous Suicide" for that song. The working title was "Suicide", hence the engineer saying "We're rolling 'Suicide'" at the start of the recording. Still, it isn't "Self-Righteous Suicide".
    • Even though the words "toxicity" appears in the song "Toxicity", common mislabels for it include "Disorder" and "What, Do You Own The World?".
  • That Temple Of The Dog song that goes "I'm going hungry" is actually called "Hunger Strike".
  • Jan Terri's "Losing You" is not called "Lose You Tonight".
  • They Might Be Giants:
    • "The Guitar" is often mistaken as "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" for its sampling of that song. They were required to use "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" as a subtitle though, as it is more or less the same song but with different lyrics.
      • They never did a song called "I'm Insane", it's "Absolutely Bill's Mood". The title refers to their first producer, Bill Krauss, and the title is meant to mock the above-mentioned Bob Dylan titling scheme.
  • Third Eye Blind
    • They never did a song called "I Want Something Else". It's really "Semi-Charmed Life" - which itself is confusing, because "semi-charmed life" isn't exactly what's in the lyrics, but rather "semi-charmed kind of life." (Another candidate for the title was "Doot-Doot-Doot, Doot-Doot-Doot-Doo", because those were the lyrics people most remembered.)
    • "Can You Put the Past Away?" is really called "Jumper". It's not called "I Will Understand," either.
  • 30 Seconds to Mars:
    • That song is not called "This is a Fight to the Death" or "Rise Again" or "Say a Prayer". It's called "Conquistador".
    • You know "I'll Attack"? It's actually just called "Attack".
  • For all the Canadians out there, "Ontario Sucks" is actually called "The Toronto Song." And it wasn't recorded by the Arrogant Worms either, it's actually by Three Dead Trolls In A Baggie. Which makes sense anyway, seeing how the Arrogant Worms are from Kingston, ON, not Alberta.
  • Three Dog Night:
    • There is no such song as "Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog". It's called "Joy to the World". Yes, the same title as the Christmas carol. (The confusion isn't helped by the fact that the chorus has ended up in several cover versions of that Christmas carol...)
    • They never did a song called "How Does Your Light Shine". It's called "Shambala".
    • "Black and White" is usually referred to as something along the lines of "A Child Is Black, a Child Is White". The words "black" and "white" appear constantly throughout the song, but "black and white" never appears as an unbroken phrase.
  • Three Doors Down's most famous song is not called "Superman," nor is it called "If I Go Crazy." It's actually called "Kryptonite".
  • Toadies' "Possum Kingdom", which doesn't contain the title phrase anywhere in the song, tends to get called "So Help Me Jesus" for the last line of the chorus, or less often "Do You Wanna Die?" for the bridge.
  • Though it's tempting to think otherwise, Tommy Tutone's 1982 one-hit wonder is called "867-5309/Jenny", not simply "867-5309."
  • Mel Torme and Bob Wells' soothing, mellow Christmas song that everyone knows as "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire" is actually titled, simply, "The Christmas Song."
  • "Hold the Line" by Toto is often called "Love Isn't Always on Time".
  • Toy Box's song about Tarzan is called "Tarzan & Jane", not "Tarzan" or "The Jungle Song" or "Ride an Elephant".
  • Train:
    • There is no Train song called "I'm All out of Lies" or "Ways to Say You Died". It's "50 Ways to Say Goodbye", a Non-Appearing Title.
    • They did not record "Tell Me". It's called "Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me)".
  • The Tubes' biggest hit was not called "Don't Fall in Love" nor "One in a Million Girls". The song's title is "She's a Beauty".
  • Shania Twain invoked this trope with "Love Gets Me Every Time". The song was originally titled "Gol Darn Gone and Done It", and that line is more prominent in the song, but she changed it at the last minute because she thought the original title would be too hard to pronounce.
  • Bonnie Tyler:
    • The song that goes "turn around... {lyrics lyrics}, turn around... {lyrics lyrics}, turn around, bright eyes... {lyrics lyrics}, turn around..." and on and on like this is called "Total Eclipse of the Heart". (Not "I Need You More Than Ever," either) Though this is at least guessable, being the punch line of the refrain.
    • Her other big hit is not called "I Need a Hero". It's called "Holding Out for a Hero".
  • Brooklyn-based doom/gloom/goth/sludge metal band Type O Negative's faux-live album The Origin of the Feces plays with this trope by naming the songs as if they were from a bootleg. Most of the titles are the first line of the chorus or the most repeated word: "Gravitational Constant: G = 6.67 x 10-8 cm-3 gm-1 sec-2" becomes "Gravity" and "Unsuccessfully Coping with the Natural Beauty of Infidelity" is retitled "I Know You're Fucking Someone Else".
  • The U2 song "Pride (In the Name of Love)" (just "Pride" on some pressings of The Unforgettable Fire) is more referred to by the part in parentheses.
  • While Ultravox avoid this trope on their two biggest hits ("Vienna" and "Dancing With Tears in My Eyes"), their third-biggest hit, "Hymn", has a Non-Appearing Title and can lead to it being called any number of lines from the chorus, mostly because it can and will get stuck in your brain:
    "Give us this day all that you've shown me,
    The power and the glory, 'til my kingdom come
    Give me all the story book told me
    The faith and the glory, 'til my kingdom come..."
  • Usher and wil.i.am's famous song is not "Oh My Gosh" but simply "OMG".
    • Also, his newer track isn't called "Ooooh Baby Baby", which is repeated many times in the verses and choruses, just "Scream", which is said at the end of the chorus.
  • The famous theme by Vangelis that everyone associates with the movie Chariots of Fire isn't called "Chariots of Fire"; it's called "Titles". There is a song called "Chariots of Fire" on the soundtrack, but it's a much longer piece that was played over the end credits and mostly just shares certain elements with the main theme.
  • Van Halen titled their song "Love Walks In" even though "Love Comes Walkin' In" is repeated throughout the chorus and the title never actually appears.
  • In "Funk Phenomena" by Armand Van Helden, the Looped Lyrics say "the funk phenomenon" instead.
  • Wilfrido Vargas doesn't play any song called "El Negro", or "Qué Será lo que Quiere el Negro". The name of the song is "El Africano".
  • Suzanne Vega's most famous song is not "My Name Is Luka", it's just "Luka".
  • Velvet Revolver's most well known song is not "Here Comes the Water". It's named "Slither".
  • Rufus Wainwright's "Greek Song" is sometimes referred to as "You Turn Me On" after the phrase repeated seven times in the first verse.
  • Tom Waits' "Tom Traubert's Blues (Four Sheets to the Wind in Copenhagen)" is often erroneously called "Waltzing Matilda" because it uses that song as its chorus. Waits is fond of concept albums, and the title only makes sense in that context; it's just never explained in the song itself. Most of the songs on that album also have alternate or expanded titles in parentheses.
  • Weezer's "Island in the Sun" is not titled "Hip Hip".
  • Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson's "September Song," not "May to December" or "It's a Long, Long Way", etc.
  • Kurt Weill's "Alabama Song", popularized by The Doors, may get called "Whiskey Bar" if you just heard the song. (And, more ridiculously, that phrase comes from the first verse, not the refrain, which starts: "Oh, moon of Alabama...")
  • This is true of several of "Weird Al" Yankovic's parodies. In general, whenever the phrase he replaces the original song's namesake with doesn't make for a good title, it probably isn't.
    • His parody of "Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor (a major theme of the third Rocky film) is called "Theme from Rocky XIII (The Rye or the Kaiser)", not simply "Rye or the Kaiser". On the album cover, the part in parentheses doesn't even appear.
    • "The Plumbing Song", combined parody of Milli Vanilli's hit singles "Baby Don't Forget My Number" and "Blame It on the Rain", is sometimes known as "Baby Don't Forget My Plumber" and/or "Blame It on the Drain".
    • His Flintstones-flavored Red Hot Chili Peppers parody is named "Bedrock Anthem", not "Yabba Dabba Doo Now" or any variation thereof; the mistake is probably due to the repetition of Fred Flinstone's catchphrase in place of the semi-Title Only Chorus from "Give It Away".
    • His parody of Crash Test Dummies' "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" has the same mmm's in the chorus as the original, but is listed as "Headline News".
    • "Cavity Search" has been misnamed as "Numb Me, Drill Me, Floss Me, Bill Me", being a dentistry-themed parody of U2's "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me".
    • Al's second Star Wars-themed parody is "The Saga Begins", not "My, My, This Here Anakin Guy".
    • Poodle Hat is noteworthy for having not even one parody where the title is a perfect substitute for the original's. His parody of "Complicated" by Avril Lavigne is not called "Constipated", "Related", or "Decapitated", with which Al replaces the word "complicated" in the first, second, and third verses, respectively; it's called "A Complicated Song". Rumor has it that the three verses are actually the beginnings of three different attempts at a parody of "Complicated" that were loosely tied together into a single song. His song about Spider-Man, sung to the tune of "Piano Man", is called "Ode to a Superhero" for legal reasons. "Couch Potato" was a parody of Eminem's "Lose Yourself" (the title line of which was "lose your mind", which would be misleading out of context). "Trash Day" parodied Nelly's "Hot in Here" ("it's getting hot in here" became "there's something rotten here", among other things), but the title phrase does at least appear in the first line. Finally, his parody of the Backstreet Boys' "I Want It That Way" is simply called "eBay", not "What I Bought on eBay".
  • Kanye West doesn't have a song called "Diamonds Are Forever". It's called "Diamonds from Sierra Leone". Granted, the song did famously sample the theme of the same name from the film, and the original title of the song was "Diamonds Are Forever".
  • Keith West's "Excerpt from a Teenage Opera" is often called "Grocer Jack". On the Teenage Opera CD (released many years later), it's called "Grocer Jack: Excerpt from a Teenage Opera".
  • It's called "When You Say Nothing at All", not "You Say it Best". And Keith Whitley sang it first.
  • The Who's "Baba O'Riley" is more commonly known as "Teenage Wasteland" — its original working title. Some even call it "Out Here In The Field" after the first line. iTunes actually calls it "Teenage Wasteland" as well, which is misleading, to say the least. Freaks and Geeks references this confusion. When the main character calls it "Teenage Wasteland", her friend gets annoyed and corrects her.
  • Stevie Wonder's classic song isn't called "You Can Feel It All over" (which is basically the entire chorus); it's "Sir Duke" (which appears exactly once).
  • "Bad Connection" by Yazoo is not "Can You Hear Me". The real title is a Non-Appearing Title.
  • A radio station once made a pre-song sweeper of a listener calling in to ask "Who sings that new song, American Girl?" to which the DJ responded "Well nobody, but Trisha Yearwood sings X's and O's." "X's and O's" is the second half of the second line of the chorus, while "She's an American Girl" is the last two repeated lines of every chorus... But, "X's and O's" gets repeated about 4 times at the very end of the song. And just to confuse things further, the song's official title is "XXX's and OOO's (An American Girl)". Yes, three X's and three O's.
  • The name of Ylvis's viral hit is not "What Does the Fox Say?". At first, it was just called "The Fox," but confusion was so common that "What Does the Fox Say?" was eventually added as a subtitle.
  • Neil Young has an anthemic song about dying early, from his Rust Never Sleeps album. Most people would guess that the song is called "Look Out Mama" or something similar (the song has no particular chorus, and begins thusly: "Look out, mama, there's a white boat comin' up the river...") when, in actuality, it's called "Powderfinger". This phrase doesn't appear in the lyrics — however, the last verse, sung after the character's rifle has backfired and killed him, begins: "Shelter me from the powder and the finger". This is in reference to the gunpowder and the finger that pulled the trigger. Probably.
  • Frank Zappa:
    • The song isn't called "Here Comes the Water", it's "The Wet T-Shirt Contest." It is about exactly that.
      • And some pressings will title it as "Wet T-Shirt Nite" or "Fembot in a Wet T-Shirt".
    • That other song you might think of doesn't have "American Dream" anywhere in its title. It's named "Bobby Brown (Goes Down)".
  • Zeromancer's "Dr. Online" is known as "1-800-suicide", after the lyic that starts the chorus, "Doctor Online" appears in the next line, but it's not as prominent. The fact that there's a famous Super Smash Bros. fanvid called "1-800-Kirbycide" doesn't help. There also is a completely different song called 1-800-suicide by Gravediggaz ("Suicide, it's a suicide").
  • "Kernkraft 400" by Zombie Nation. Most people think "Zombie Nation" is the name of the song because it's mentioned in the song and the title is not. Being listed as "Zombie Nation" on several compilations doesn't help matters. Neither is the true title looking foreign.
  • R.E.M. never made a song called "Come One, Come All" or "No One Can See You Cry". You're looking for "Imitation of Life", which is said approximately once in the entire song.
    • Also, they don't have a song called "Stand in the Place Where You Live". It's just called "Stand".
  • Manic Street Preachers have a song actually called "If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next". Due to the Long Title, most refer to it as "Tolerate" or "Your Children Will Be Next" or any other phrase from the title. Not to mention that the lyrics say "If you tolerate this then your children will be next", causing further confusion.

Other

    Other Music 
  • The song "Twist and Shout" is an interesting combination of both this trope and Covered Up. It was originally titled "Shake It Up, Baby" (or "Shake It Up, Babe") and recorded by a rather unknown band called Top Notes (or The Topnotes or Topnotes or The Top Notes, they weren't too sure on how they wanted their name to be spelled). After their version of the song failed to be a hit, the original writer of the song gave the lyrics to The Isley Brothers, who recorded the first popular version of the song as "Twist and Shout". Later on, The Beatles recorded a cover of the song on their debut album Please Please Me with John Lennon on vocals, which many believe is their original.
  • Older Than Radio: It's not "Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory" or "Glory, Glory, Hallelujah" or "that song mentioning the Grapes of Wrath". The actual title of the song is "Battle Hymn of the Republic" (and its tune is borrowed from the Civil War-era folk song "John Brown's Body"). It's not helped that many hymnals list it with different titles.
    • The hymnals thing stems from the same problem as the Gilbert and Sullivan examples below: many hymnals list their songs based on the first line of the song, no matter what the actual title or refrain may be.
  • The patriotic song whose first line is "My Country, 'Tis of Thee" is actually titled "America."
  • The Philippine national anthem is NOT titled "Bayang Magiliw" ("Beloved Country"). It's called "Lupang Hinirang" ("Chosen Land").
  • Three's a Catholic hymn that says "We shall be changed" numerous times throughout, including twice in the chorus alone. The song is actually called "On the Wings of Change", which is never actually said anywhere in the lyrics themselves.
  • Here's a strange one: the classic tune so often referred to as "Eine kleine Nachtmusik" by Mozart actually goes by the official and less memorable name of "Serenade No. 13 for strings in G major, K. 525" (or just "Serenade No. 13 for strings in G major".) The title also properly translates to "A Little Serenade", not "A Little Nightmusic".
  • Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" is properly called "Symphony No. 9 in D minor" (and "Ode to Joy" is only the final movement of said piece)
  • "Für Elise"'s official title is "Bagatelle No. 25 in A minor for solo piano". It's no wonder people use the shorter titles to refer to these pieces...
  • The one exception is Bach's "Toccata and Fugue in D Minor", which despite being a fairly well-known tune (being a Standard Snippet) doesn't go by any other name than that.
  • Stephen Foster didn't write a song called "(Way Down Upon the) Swanee River". He did, however, write one called "Old Folks at Home".
  • The calypso tune popularly known as "Day-O" is more properly called "The Banana Boat Song". Also, one of its earliest arrangements was done by a calypso group fronted by future Academy Award-winning actor Alan Arkin. "6 Foot 7 Foot" also became a common mistake thanks to Lil Wayne.
  • The song "Beer Barrel Polka" (by Jaromír Vejvoda) is usually called "Roll out the Barrel."
  • "Das Deutschlandlied", the German national anthem, often mistakenly referred to by its opening line, "Deutschland Uber Alles."
  • The University of Nebraska's fight song is frequently called "There is No Place Like Nebraska", but the actual title is "Dear Old Nebraska U".
  • Similarly, the "Notre Dame Victory March" (famously used in Airplane!) is often mistakenly called either "Wake Up the Echoes" or "Cheer, Cheer For Old Notre Dame."
  • The infamously memetic song that lodged "All your base are belong to us" into the minds of so many is titled "Invasion of the Gabber Robots". The Laziest Men on Mars used to distribute a version of the song that was tagged "Invasion of the Gabber Robots (all your bass are belong to us)" back when MP3.com actually sold MP3s.
  • "Zadok the Priest", sung at British coronations, was often called "God Save The King" after its chorus — until the song now known by that name became popular in the 1740s.
  • That ragtime/jazz duet that Bing Crosby did with his son Gary was called "Play a Simple Melody", not "Play Me Some Rag" or "I Wanna Listen to Rag."
  • To take another famous neo-ragtime song, Teresa Brewer's biggest hit was "Music! Music! Music!" - even though it's more popularly known as "Put Another Nickel In, In the Nickelodeon."

    Anime and Manga 
  • The first opening theme from Hokuto no Ken by Crystal King is often referred to as "You wa Shock," as that line comes up quite a bit in the lyrics. It's actually titled "Ai o Torimodose," a line which appears far fewer times (twice in the album version, only once in the TV edit).
    • DGM's cover of "Ai o Torimodose!" is actually titled in the album as "You Wa Shock! (Ai o Torimodose)".
      • Many bands that cover this song tend to title it like that or as "Ai o Torimodose (You Wa Shock!)".
  • A similar case is the fourth and arguably most famous opening theme to Naruto. It's frequently mistaken to be titled "Fighting Dreamers" after a bit of Gratuitous English in the refrain, but it's actually called "GO!!!" (punctuation included), which is said once in the entire song (after the part with "Don't forget your first impulse ever" and "Let's keep your adventurous ever"). It does sound like it's said in the chorus, but that lyric is actually "Burn!"
    • The first opening of Naruto Shippūden is called "Hero's Come Back!!" by nobodyknows+, though sometimes you will also find it under the title "Speed Hunter".
      • The fifth Naruto Shippuden opening, "Hotaru no Hikari" (Light of the Fireflies), is often incorrectly called "Sha la ls".
  • One of the songs from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is often referred to as "Row Row Fight the Powah" or just "Fight the Powah", but is actually called ラップは漢の魂だ! 無理を通して道理を蹴っ飛ばす! 俺たち大グレン団のテーマを耳の穴かっぽじってよ~く聴きやがれ!!": Rap wa Kan no Tamashii da! Muri o Tōshite Dōri o Kettobasu! Ore-tachi Dai-Gurren-dan no Tēma o Mimi no Ana Kappojite Yo~ku Kikiyagare!!, or Rap is a Man's Soul! We Kick Reason to the Curb to Make the Impossible Possible! Open up Your Ears and Listen to Our Team Dai-Gurren Theme!! in English.
    • Actually there are at least three other songs that use the same lyrics as a part of them; the distinctive segment's name is presumably called "Rap is a Man's Soul!" as that appears in the title of three of the four songs. The fourth, which juxtaposes the rapping with opera, is named "'Libera me' from Hell."
  • A certain Prince of Tennis ending song is sometimes referred to as "Glory Days," due to this being the last two words of the chorus as well as one of the only English phrases in the song. The title is actually "White Line" (with this phrase only appearing if you translate the song).
  • The first Pokémon theme song for the dub is literally called "Pokemon Theme Song", not "I Wanna Be The Very Best" or any other variation.
  • The ending theme of So Ra No Wo To can easily be mistaken to be titled as "Aijou Yuujou" due to the song starting with those words and are repeated a couple of times throughout the song, which becomes all the more memorable due to the cheery nature of the song becoming increasingly dissonant with the mood of the series as it gradually reveals the full extent of its Crapsaccharine World setting. Its actual title is a Non-Appearing Title, "Girls, Be Ambitious."
  • Russian Songstress Origa never recorded a song for Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex called "We Rise Above". She did however record a song titled "Rise".
  • The Japanese opening to Sonic X is called "Sonic Drive", not "S-O-N-I-C" or "Inside Outside".
  • Ryuko's Leitmotif in Kill la Kill is often called "Don't Lose Your Way", when it's actually "Before my body is dry".
    • Similarly, the song "Ping Pong Circulate" is actually "犬Kあ3L" (read as "Inu ka Saru", meaning "Dog or Monkey"). In fact, the assumption goes beyond the title; it's generally believed this is Aikuro's theme since it plays whenever he's around, when the "Inu" in the title indicates it to be Inumuta's theme (or at least the first half, with the second half being Sanageyama's themenote ).
  • Happens to both Sailor Moon openings (Actually three but the second is a cover of the first). The first opening is called "Moonlight Densetsu", but often appears as "Miracle Romance", and The Stars season opening is called "Sailor Stars Song" not "Makenai"

    Film — Animated 
  • The Training Montage song from Mulan is called "I'll Make a Man Out of You", not "Be a Man".
    • When Disney Channel aired the song as a music video for filler, they misidentified it as "Dark Side of the Moon".
  • The Finnish version of "One of Us" from The Lion King II is not called "Tänne hän kuulu ei" note , as the refrain would suggest, but "Maanpako" note  as revealed in the credits.
  • The opening song of Disney's Beauty and the Beast is called "Belle", not "Bonjour". Much of the lyrics even contain the townsfolk opinions of Belle.
    • Also sometimes mistakenly called "Provincial Life", another recurring phrase.
    • But, more often than not, it is falsely titled "Little Town," because it's the first words of the song.
    • Additionally, "The Mob Song" is not titled "Kill the Beast".
  • A song from Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet the Wolfman is called "The Monster's out in You", not "Little Brother, Mr. Hyde".
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas: Jack's Lament is sometimes referred to as "The Pumpkin King" or simply "Jack's Song", the latter making no sense, as most of the songs are sung by Jack.
  • The trio in The Prince of Egypt between Moses, Rameses, and God is not called "Thus Saith the Lord" or "Let My People Go"; it's "The Plagues".

    Film — Live Action 
  • You know that song that was used in the movie Ghost Rider? The one about "ghost riders in the sky"? The actual title is just "Riders in the Sky (A Cowboy Legend)." No "ghost" in the name. It should also be mentioned that the song is very old, and Ghost Rider was hardly the first instance of it being used in a movie.
  • Prince's 1989 Batman album, which was also heard at length in the original Tim Burton movie:
    • The song that plays on the boombox during the museum sequence is called "Partyman", not "All Hail the New King in Town." Understandable, since the name "Partyman" is so mushily pronounced in the song that it's easy to interpret it as something else, and some variation on "Hail the new king in town" is heard in the song no less than three times (four times, if you count the music video Prince did for MTV).
    • The song in the parade scene is called "Trust." It's not "I Put This Question 2 You", or "W-X-Y-Z" (the song's opening lyrics).
  • The Nightwish song that was used in the movie Alone in the Dark (2005) is titled "Wish I Had an Angel". Not, as many think, "I Wish I Had an Angel".
  • Navras (a.k.a. the fight song for Neo vs. Smith in The Matrix Revolutions) has three lines, and "navras" isn't in any of them. Though Navras was also the name of the Hindu mantra the lyrics came from.
  • Inversion: The theme of The Spy Who Loved Me is titled "Nobody Does It Better", although the movie title is in the lyrics.
  • The Wizard of Oz:
    • "We're Off to See the Wizard" is the name of the song. "Follow the Yellow Brick Road" is just part of the verse, though it's the only part of the verse used in the movie. (The rest goes: "Follow the rainbow over the stream / Follow the fellow who follows a dream.") Oddly, the first time the song appears (as Dorothy is leaving Munchkinland and the Munchkins are singing the song), it is titled "Follow the Yellow Brick/You're Off to See the Wizard".
    • It's "Over the Rainbow", not "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." (Everyone gets this one wrong.)
  • Seven Brides for Seven Brothers has a song named "June Bride." Anybody who hears the song without knowing the title might easily assume the title to be something like "They Say When You Marry in June."
  • The theme music from the movie Arthur is called "Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)". However, it is best known by the first line of the chorus, "When you get caught between the moon and New York City", and is therefore often referred to as "The Moon and New York City".
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey: "Daisy Bell" is the song HAL sang (or rather, covered), not "Daisy, Daisy" or "Bicycle Built for Two". It was the first computer synthesized tune, in 1961.
  • How many times have you heard Clint Mansell's "Lux Aeterna", which has no lyrics, simply referred to as "Requiem for a Dream"? (Requiem for a Dream being the name of the movie in which it appeared.) Some people don't even know the song by that title and just recognize it as that stock "epic" song.

    Literature 
  • In Väinö Linna's The Unknown Soldier, Sgt. Rokka asks Pvt. Vanhala to play Russian song called "Yokkantii". It actually is "Kalinka". It begins "Oh-kaa-lee-nkah", with heavily palatalized "l", almost sounding like "t".

    Live-Action TV 
  • The opening theme to The Big Bang Theory made famous by the Barenaked Ladies isn't titled "It All Started with a Big Bang" or just "Big Bang" or any variation on that line, it's called "History of Everything". (Or, as the Barenaked Ladies label Raisin' Records says it is, "Big Bang Theory Theme.")
  • The opening to Malcolm in the Middle is simply titled "Boss of Me", not "You're Not the Boss of Me Now".
  • The song Ronnie Dobbs (David Cross) sings in a Mr. Show episode (also sung by Mandy Patinkin in The Movie Run Ronnie Run) is actually called "How High The Mountain", not "Y'all are Brutalizing Me."
  • Saturday Night Live recently did a sketch involving a rewritten version of Bobbie Gentry's "Ode to Billy Joe." A summary of the sketch on a website called the original song "Choctaw Ridge."
  • In an episode of Married... with Children, Al is trying to figure out the title of a song. All he knows is "huh huh him". Later he hears the song on the radio, and the chorus is "Go With Him". Then the DJ comes on and says "I know you think that song is called "Go With Him", but it's not!" and then neglects to mention what the title actually is. (It's "Anna" by Arthur Alexander.)

    Every line in the song begins with the word 'Anna', while 'Go With Him' is only the refrain. The song itself was later covered by The Beatles, under the title "Anna (Go to Him)". It causes quite a bit of confusion among listeners (at least those who know the title).
  • A rare tokusatsu theme example: The opening theme to Kyojuu Tokusou Juspion is not "COME ON BOY", it's "Ore ga Seigi da, Juspion!"
  • The theme to Kamen Rider Black RX is just called "Kamen Rider Black RX", not "Wake Up the Hero".
  • The Signature Song of musical comedienne Victoria Wood is called "The Ballad of Barry and Freda". Even lyrics sites call it "Let's Do It".
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme is one of the most famous TV themes of all time, yet few people know it's actual title: "Yo! Home to Bel-Air!" On the Greatest Hits album, however, it was simply listed as "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air".

    Poetry 
  • Francis Scott Key titled his poem "Defense of Fort McHenry". The first person to publish it along with sheet music called it "The Star-Spangled Banner" and the name stuck. note 
  • In a similar vein, while the hymn/anthem may be called 'Jerusalem', Wordsworth's original poem was definitely entitled 'And Did Those Feet in Ancient Time.' Indeed, Sir Hubert Parry (the first man to set the poem to music) always referred to it by the original title.
  • The poem opening "How doth the little busy Bee ..." is actually titled "Against Idleness and Mischief".
  • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's arguably most well-known poem is known as Über allen Gipfeln ist Ruh (Above all peaks there is quiet), after its first line, or Wandrers Nachtlied (The Wanderer's Night-Song). However, at its first publication Goethe merely entitled it Ein Gleiches (A Similar One), with reference to an earlier poem entitled Wandrers Nachtlied) which was printed above it on the same page.
  • Prussia's inofficial national anthem, Üb' immer Treu und Redlichkeit (Always practice loyalty and honesty), which is sung to the tune of Papageno's aria Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen from Mozart's Magic Flute, is actually entitled: Der alte Landmann an seinen Sohn (The old countryman (peasant) to his son). The poem was writen by Ludwig Heinrich Christoph Hölty.
  • The opening line is "'Twas the night before Christmas", but the poem was titled "A Visit From St. Nicholas".
  • The poem that begins "You are old, Father William" is actually titled "The Old Man's Comforts and How He Gained Them".

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Sheamus's theme is called "Written in My Face", not "Too Many Lies" or "These Words Are True" or "Now It's Time to Bleed" or "You Wear Your Cowardice Well." (Or "Too Many Limes", or "It's A Shameful Thing, Lobster Head".)
  • Antonio Cesaro's pre-Real Americans theme, "Miracle", has lyrics that are just about indecipherable, even sounding like they could be in a foreign language (which would be appropriate, since Cesaro's gimmick is that he is a Swiss citizen who can speak all of his country's official languages). That aside, one of the lines sounds vaguely like "What's wrong with this chair?" - and so that is what fans have taken to calling the song.
  • Booker T's entrance theme was not called "Can You Dig It?"; it was called "Rap Sheet." Listeners were often misled because Booker could be heard bellowing "Can you dig it...sucka?!" just before the music started up. And strangely enough, Booker T did record a rap titled "Can You Dig It?" for the WWE Originals album.
  • This most commonly happens with the Raw or SmackDown themes (the only theme tunes in WWE to be regularly played in their entirety, or close to their entirety).
    • "Across the Nation" (the Raw theme during the years when WWE was slowly transitioning from the Attitude Era to the current TV-PG era, and appropriate for a show that appears in a different part of North America every week) has the actual words "across the nation" in its lyrics, but they are slipped in so casually that it's easy to miss them. A newcomer was more likely to think the song was titled "Let's Get It On" or "Move to the Music" or even "Play That Fuckin' Music", since those are the lines that are uttered most often by the performers.
    • "To Be Loved", the Papa Roach number that replaced "Across the Nation" in 2006. Although "I just wanna be, wanna be loved" is featured prominently in the chorus, the tempo of the overall song is so absurdly fast that it's easy to miss most of the lyrics; about the only thing that the first-time listener could be expected to make out would be the echoing "Whoa-oa-oa-oa" sound effect at the beginning of the chorus, so you'd be forgiven for referring to "To Be Loved" as "that 'Whoa-oa-oa-oa' song."
    • "Rise Up", the SmackDown theme for many years, did have the words "rise up" spoken just before the chorus, but in a cartoonishly evil voice that sounded more like "RAAAUUGH!" The chorus itself prominently features the phrase "Break it up, break it down" - and so that was how first-timers tended to refer to it. Of course, they were probably thinking of the D-Generation X theme, which is called "Break It Down."
    • The SmackDown theme back in 2010 was titled "Let It Roll" - not "You're Goin' Down."
    • The current (2014) SmackDown theme is called "Born to Run" - which is obviously going to confuse a whole lot of viewers over the age of 30, since that is more famously the name of a Bruce Springsteen song (and no, the WWE "Born to Run" isn't a cover). You'd never know it if you're just a casual WWE fan, though, since the chorus is better known for the lines "The sky turns black, it don't matter" and "Now the sun is comin' up" - and the final word of "We were [not "I was"] born to run" itself is drawn out and deliberately mispronounced as "reh-un", probably to avoid sounding too much like Springsteen.
    • And the current Raw theme is just called "Tonight", not "Tonight Is the Night" (despite what you may think if you stumble upon a stream of Video Game Championship Wrestling, where the chatroom will "sing" along with some of the lyrics, especially the full "Tonight is the night" line that opens the song).

    Radio 
  • Terry Pratchett's novel Equal Rites was serialised on BBC Radio 4's feminist-leaning Woman's Hour. For quite some time afterwards, the author received fan-mail addressed to Ms. Terri Pratchett, Ms. Teresa Pratchett or simply Ms. Pratchett, from fans who simply assumed a woman had written the book and who even when informed of the error, simply refused to believe a mere man could have written such a book with such strong female characters.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Gonzo sings a song about Camilla the Chicken in the Leslie Uggams episode of The Muppet Show. It's listed on lyrics sites as "Camilla", but is officially titled "Gonzo's Song".
  • "Gorgs In Glory" from the Fraggle Rock episode "Boober Gorg" does not have the title in the lyrics at all, but it sometimes may be referred to as "The Most Magnificent Thing in the World".

    Theatre 
  • The established convention in Opera is to name arias after their first lyric. This is useful for the singers/orchestra so that everyone knows that they are all (literally) on the same page. However, the first line generally isn't the most memorable, making it confusing from the audience's perspective.
    • From I Pagliacci: the crying clown aria is called "Vesti la giubba (Put on the Costume)", not the soaring, climactic lyrics "Ridi, Pagliaccio (Laugh, Clown!)".
    • Tosca:
      • The original Scarpia Ultimatum is actually called "Tre sbirri, una carozza (Quick, a carriage)". It's usually either referred to as "Va, Tosca" or The One With The Te Deum.
      • Averted with "Vissi d'arte (I lived for art)", which actually is the part everyone remembers.
  • The opera tradition is irritatingly carried over into the works of Gilbert and Sullivan. Very, very few of their songs are named after the most well-known line of their refrain- because they're all named after the first line of the song itself... leaving such gems as the one that goes "I am the Pirate King/You are, hurrah for the Pirate King!/And it is, it is a glorious thing to be a Pirate King!" which is of course titled "Better Far to Live and Die". Nor is there a song in The Mikado titled 'I've Got A Little List' (it's called 'As Some Day It May Happen').
    • And how could we forget the chorus "A paradox/A paradox/A most ingenious paradox!/With quips and quibbles heard in flocks/None can beat this paradox!" which naturally is called "When You Had Left Our Pirate Fold".
      • From the same operetta (Pirates of Penzance) we have "I am an Orphan Boy/An Orphan Boy/An Orphan Boy/How sad, an Orphan Boy/For he is an Orphan Boy/He is, hurrah for the Orphan Boy!/And it sometimes is a useful thing to be an Orphan Boy" which is titled "Oh, Men of Dark and Dismal Fate". Really, this is amazingly common, though occasionally it works out: "I am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General" both starts and ends the song and it's difficult to imagine how someone might think the title was anything other than some variation on "Modern Major General". (Though a lot of people seem to think it's called 'The Major General Song').
  • In Legally Blonde: The Musical, the song "There! Right There!" is probably known best as "Gay or European". Like the example from A Chorus Line, it's probably for the purpose of making the joke more of a surprise.
  • For the thousandth time, "What is this Feeling?" is not entitled "Loathing!"
  • The musical Little Shop of Horrors has quite a few of these. Two prominent examples are "Skid Row" (often referred to as "Downtown") and "Git It" (more popularly known as "Feed Me").
  • "By My Side" from Godspell is not called "Where Are You Going", although this is the first line said and the actual Title Drop doesn't come in for a long time.
  • "The Flesh Failures" from Hair is simply legendary. You don't remember "The Flesh Failures"? It's the one that ended with a long refrain of "let the sun shine in, let the sun shine in..."
    • This is made worse by the fact that this refrain was released at the end of the 5th Dimension's "Age of Aquarius" single as "Age of Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine in."
  • Chicago
    • You know that number that goes "He had it coming, he had it coming, he only had himself to blame..."? Well, it isn't called "He Had it Coming", as it can be found on certain file sharing sites as. It's called "Cellblock Tango".
    • And that ragtime-like song? It's "Press Conference Rag", not "They Reached For the Gun."
  • In the musical A Chorus Line, "Dance: Ten; Looks: Three" is named after the first line of the verse. The original title, "Tits and Ass," was changed to keep from giving away the joke.
  • "A Hymn to Him" from My Fair Lady is sometimes referred to by the first line of its refrain, "Why Can't a Woman Be More Like a Man?" The real title never appears in the song.
  • The opening song in Guys and Dolls is called "Fugue for Tinhorns," but everybody knows it by its first and last line, "I Got the Horse Right Here" (or perhaps as "Paul Revere," the name of the horse in question).
  • It's fairly common for musicals to include at least one song where the title is either a joke or a reference to the staging and not actually part of the lyrics. A couple of examples from Bye Bye Birdie are "The Telephone Hour" (the "Hi Margie/Hi Alice" song) and "Hymn for a Sunday Evening" (the "Ed Sullivan" song).
  • Rent:
    • The famous show tune is actually called "Seasons of Love", not "525,600 Minutes".
    • "Another Day" is sometimes referred to as "Me and My Guitar" after the first lines of the song.
    • And the song at the end is called "Finale B", not "No Day But Today".
      • The version of the song performed at Life Support isn't called "No Day But Today" either, it's called "Life Support".
  • Grease:
    • That tune sung by both Danny and Sandy early on is not called "Summer Loving" or "Tell Me More". It's called "Summer Nights" (which is actually the refrain).
    • One of the songs that plays in the background during the dance contest in The Movie (and is actually sung by Doody in the original play) is "Those Magic Changes", not "What's That Playing On the Radio?"

    Video Games 
  • When MOTHER was released, it was accompanied with a soundtrack containing lyricised versions of several songs from the game. Some familiar with the lyrics tend to assume that the name of the first (and most famous) song on the album is "I Believe in You". Some unfamiliar with the lyrics tend to call it "Pollyanna's Theme". Turns out both groups are wrong - the name of the song is simply "Pollyanna" (though to be fair, the full title for the lyricised version is technically "Pollyanna (I Believe in You)"), and there is no character by that name in any game in the series. (There is a "Paula" and an "Ana", but neither character is closely associated with the song in question.) "Pollyanna" is simply a term used to describe the kind of extremely positive person the song is about.
  • The song at the credit roll of Devil May Cry 3 is titled "Devils Never Cry," although a lot of people call it "The Devil's Cry," after the last words of the song. Humorously, the song featured in the fourth game does not fall under this trope.
  • That oddly epic song that plays throughout Super Smash Bros.. Brawl is not called "Audi Famam Illius". The title actually is "Super Smash Bros. Brawl Main Theme".
  • The Japanese/European opening song of Sonic the Hedgehog CD is called "Sonic - You Can Do Anything", not "Toot Toot Sonic Warrior". The credits song is called "Cosmic Eternity - Believe in Yourself".
  • The actual song that was used as the ending theme for Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is called "Sweet Sweet Sweet", not "Sweet Dream" (though the English version of the song released later was actually titled "Sweet Dream").
    • Shadow's theme from Sonic Adventure 2 is erroneously titled by some as "All of the Darkness", based on the lyric "All of the darkness that dozes in the dusk" - except, close as that sounds, those aren't the actual lyrics (that'd be "Oh dark, the darkness that dozes in the dusk"). The song's actual title is the immediately following line, "Throw It All Away".
    • Similarly, Dr. Eggman's theme is not titled "I Am the Eggman", it's actually "E.G.G.M.A.N.", which is a Non-Appearing Title. Amy's theme is "My Sweet Passion", not "Sweet, Sweet, You're So Sweet" or any variation. Knuckles's theme is titled "Unknown from M.E", not any variation of "Born on an Island in the Heavens". Big's theme is "Lazy Days ~Livin' in Paradise~", not "Welcome to Our Paradise".
    • And moving away from character themes, the song that plays during Shadow's fight against Bio Lizard is called "Supporting Me", not "To the Pressure" or "Losing You".
    • The theme to the level City Escape is actually titled "Escape from the City", which does appear in the lyrics, but possibly as an inversion of this trope some think it's also called "City Escape". It's also sometimes incorrectly titled "Follow Me".
    • Knuckles's level songs all have Non-Appearing Title - Wild Canyon ("Kick the Rock!"), Pumpkin Hill ("A Ghost's Pumpkin Soup"), Aquatic Mine ("Dive into the Mellow"), Death Chamber ("Deeper"), Meteor Herd ("Space Trip Steps").
    • White Jungle's theme is titled "Rhythm and Balance", not "Shadow, Don't Make Me Upset".
    • Team Sonic's theme in Sonic Heroes is titled "We Can (Theme of Team Sonic)", not "We Can Make It" or any variation on "So Much Better Than Alone".
    • The main theme of Shadow the Hedgehog is not titled "I Am". It's actually "I Am... All of Me", despite those two phrases never actually appearing in that order until the very LAST line of the song. And it's not "I Am All of Me" or even "I Am (All of Me)" either, the actual title does contain an ellipsis.
    • In Psyguy of Fireball 20 XL's parody dub of Sonic The Hedgehog The Movie, Knuckles complains "Aww, I hate 'In His World'" when the tune starts playing during Sonic's first battle with Metal Sonic. The song is actually called "His World". (And "In his world" doesn't even appear in the lyrics, the line goes "In this world (His world!), where life is strong...")
  • The theme song of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is not called "Dovahkiin". Yes, the Ominous Dragon Chanting does go "Dovahkiin! Dovahkiin!, but the actual title is "Sons of Skyrim". "Dovahkiin" is a completely different song. Both songs have Non Appearing Titles. Confused yet?
  • Pig With The Face Of A Boy's Tetris song is called "A Complete History Of The Soviet Union Through The Eyes Of A Humble Worker, Arranged To The Melody Of Tetris", not "I Am The Man Who Arranges The Blocks". And the melody itself isn't "Tetris song", it's from Russian folk song "Korobeiniki" (which itself is a victim of this trope - it's not "Oy polnym polna mоya korobushka").
  • Non-lyrical example: The main musical motif that plays in the Ace Attorney games when pressuring a witness or discovering the culprit is called the "Pursuit" theme for that game. The theme in the first game is titled "Pursuit ~ Cornered", leading some fans to refer to the songs in subsequent games as their "Cornered" theme.
  • The well-known tune from Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest is "Stickerbush Symphony", not "brush".
  • The ending song of Persona 3 has two official titles. On the US soundtrack, it's listed as "Kimi no Kioku", but on the Japanese soundtrack, it's officially titled "Memories of You". The two titles mean the same thing (and neither appear in the song), but it's interesting that the Japanese album uses the English title and vice versa.
    • Also from that game, the battle music is just called "Mass Destruction", not "Shadows of Mass Destruction".
  • The credits theme of Skullgirls is a solemn jazz tune named "In A Moment's Time". Due to the lyrics, however, most people instead call it "In Just A Moment's Time".

    Web Original 
  • The first song in Act II of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog is officially titled "My Eyes," but is often referred to as "On the Rise." There was a gap of several months between the release of the video and the release of the soundtrack and song titles.
    • Most of Doctor Horrible has that problem, due to the aforementioned gap between the release of the musical and the release of official titles for the songs.
    • In all honesty, the entire production is full of this. "Penny's Song" or "Story of a Girl"? And just how are you supposed to name the Bad Horse Choruses? Not to mention that despite "Brand New Day" being the closer of Act II, the opener of Act III, "So They Say", ends on "Or is this a brand new day?" Sure, we know all of it now, but...
      • To clear up confusion: the official titles (according to the soundtrack albums) are "Penny's Song", "Bad Horse Chorus" and "Bad Horse Chorus (Reprise)".
      • Also, reportedly, Joss Whedon will break down and cry if you call it "Laundry Day". It's "My Freeze Ray".

    Western Animation 
  • Phineas and Ferb: The song Stacy's relatives sing in "Summer Belongs to You" is officially titled "J-Pop (Welcome to Tokyo)", not "Welcome to Tokyo".
    • A good number of P&F songs fall under title confusion. Some songs are given titles on the wiki before the episode comes out, only these titles are different from the official BMI titles, which are sometimes different from the titles the writers and creators use. However, the song's unofficial, incorrect titles tend to spread fairly quickly over the Internet and YouTube. Three examples: "History of Rock" not "Danny's Story," "Big Ginormous Airplane" not "The Paper Pelican Floor Show," and "Baliwood" not "Destroyed Dreams."
    • The general, "official" rule is to go by whatever the creators use. Example: The song is "Evil for Extra Credit," even though the official BMI title is "Evil for College Credit."
  • The iconic instrumental tune associated with the Peanuts cartoons is usually referred to as "Peanuts" or "The Charlie Brown Theme" - or, sometimes, just "that kinda African-sounding jazz tune." It's actually called "Linus and Lucy" - which is confusing in itself, since Linus is merely Charlie Brown's Lancer (and truth be told, Snoopy gets higher billing than him) while Lucy is simply The Chick. This tends to bring a lot of confusion, as there is already a song called "Charlie Brown Theme."
    • It's not really all that confusing. "Linus and Lucy" was originally just the theme for, well, Linus and Lucy (they're siblings, so they have to share a theme). Since it's also by far the catchiest tune from the cartoons, it's the part everybody remembers.
  • The theme song to Arthur, made famous by Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers, is actually "Believe in Yourself", not "And I Say Hey" or simply "HEY!", no matter how many times the latter nickname is used in the song.
  • "Awaken" by Dethklok is not called "Mustakrakish." It doesn't help that in the episode of Metalocalypse where the song first appeared Nathan calls it "Awaken, Awaken Mustakrakish The Lake Troll." But really, on the album it's simply called "Awaken."
  • Family Guy:
    • Looking for that song that you probably know as "The Bird Is the Word"? Well, you won't find it under that name, it's actually called "Surfin' Bird", by The Trashmen, although it is based partly on an R&B song called "The Bird's the Word" by The Rivingtons. ("Papa-Ooh-Mau-Mau" is another popular "title.")
    • Not to mention that episode the song was featured in ("I Dream Of Jesus") actually mentioned that the song was called "Surfin' Bird".
  • The closing music for "Fireball XL 5" was originally called "Fireball", but was commonly called by its first line, "I Wish I Was a Spaceman". The latter has now become the official title, probably at least partly to avoid confusion with "Fireball" by Deep Purple.


Recycled TitleTitle TropesRetronym
Recycled LyricsMusic TropesRepurposed Pop Song
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