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Biting The Hand Humor / Music

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  • Pink Floyd's song "Have a Cigar" from Wish You Were Here is a clear mockery of record companies and producers who want hit singles instead of artistic freedom.
  • The Dead Kennedys had a legendary performance of "Pull My Strings" at the Bay Area Music Awards in 1980.
  • The back cover of The Replacements' Let It Be is a picture of graffiti the band members had written on a door, including "Twin/Tone eats slotty crap" (or possibly "...sloth crap"). The Replacements were signed to the label Twin/Tone at the time, and what makes it even funnier is that on some editions of the album the Twin/Tone logo is positioned directly beneath that message.
    • The rarity "Lookin' For Ya" (which they would re-work into "Love Lines") ends with Paul Westerberg ad-libbing "Keep your riches, give me a Budweiser!" This is because it was originally recorded for Trackin' Up The North, a compilation put together as part of a "Rags To Riches" battle of the bands co-sponsored by Miller High Life.
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  • Mr. Bungle were apparently doubtful as to whether or not their major label debut would even be released: In one line of "Carousel" they ask "Will Warner Brothers put this record on the shelf?" (although the liner notes make the blatantly false claim that the lyric is "look at me I'm Sandra Dee)."
  • Take a guess as to what the Nine Inch Nails song "The Hand That Feeds" is about.
  • Devo was also known to mock Warner (Bros.) Records and the music industry in general. Their promotional videos included characters that embodied every record executive stereotype: Rod Rooter, a pimply manager who didn't get Devo ("I can forgive you guys for being artists, but I can't forgive you for being stupid!" "Look at the airplay charts! No, no Devo!") and Daddy-Know-It-All, the boss of Big Entertainment who orders Rod to keep Devo in line.
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  • In Don Giovanni, during the dinner scene, when the stage band starts to play 'Non più andrai' from The Marriage of Figaro—and Leporello insists that he is sick of hearing that tune all the time.
  • Soul Coughing's "The Bug" from the Batman & Robin soundtrack includes a hidden (and probably tongue-in-cheek) dig at one of the film's stars - if you listen carefully to the end of the song you can hear a quiet loop of Mike Doughty intoning "George Clooney is Satan".
  • Rage Against the Machine's contribution to the soundtrack of the 1998 remake of Godzilla was the song "No Shelter", a four-minute Protest Song about how Hollywood supports the spread of consumerist values and American hegemony worldwide. It includes a direct Take That! at the film it's supposed to be promoting, in the form of the line "Godzilla, pure motherfucking filler, to keep ya eyes off the real killer". And just to drive the point home, the video makes reference to, among other things, the Hiroshima bombing — the event that the original film was a commentary on (commentary that was, of course, scrubbed from the remake).
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  • Sara Bareilles' "Love Song" is directed squarely at her recording company - it concerns her refusal to obey the company's request to put a love song on her album.
  • "Money For Nothing" by Dire Straits from their album Brothers in Arms criticized MTV, while at the same time having a music video that got a lot of airplay on the channel.
  • Similar to the Dire Straits example, Queen's "Radio Gaga" bemoans the fall of radio and the rise of MTV, sounding leery about "all this video". Meanwhile the Metropolis-inspired video was irresistible to MTV.
  • Also similar to the Dire Straits and Queen examples, Duran Duran, a band that broke through in the U.S. largely because of MTV, released a single off their massive self-titled 1993 "comeback album" (aka The Wedding Album) called "Too Much Information", that contained lyrics that went, "Destroyed by MTV, I hate to bite the hand that feeds me/So much information". An album track on their 1997 album Medazzaland, "Undergoing Treatment", is even more acerbic but more toward the media in general and their fair-weather "fans".
  • Elvis Costello does a self-demonstrating version in "Radio Radio" from This Year's Model.
    I wanna bite the hand that feeds me.
    I wanna bite that hand so badly.
    I want to make them wish they'd never seen me.
  • Around the same time of the Saturday Night Live example above, various employees at NBC got together with the production group who did their "We're Proud!" jingle to make a parody called "We're Loud!" which expressed their frustration at how bad NBC was doing at the time. Then, Don Imus made the mistake of airing it on live radio and pissing off then-head Fred Silverman.
  • Pulp's "Bad Cover Version" ended up doing this by accident. They took a pop at, among other things, "the second side of Til The Band Comes In" - and later on had Til The Band Comes In's performer, Scott Walker, brought on as producer for the parent album. He took it in stride.
  • The autographs of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's horn concertos, apparently all intended for Joseph Leutgeb, a horn player 23 years Mozart's senior, include various insulting remarks directed at the performer. Most notoriously, the Rondo of K. 412 includes a mocking running commentary in Italian that begins with the incorrect tempo marking "Adagio."
  • When Korn's label and management wanted them to record a hit single, they recorded the song 'Y'all Want a Single' which ran for a length of 3:19 (the average length of hit singles). The song and video were highly critical of the music industry and featured 89 instances of the F-word.
  • Alice in Chains' "Sludge Factory" is at least partially about friction between the band and their label: At one point Layne Staley received a call in studio from executives, who gave positive mention of how successful Above by his side project Mad Season had been, then informed him that Alice In Chains only had nine more days to complete the album they were working on. This incident inspired the lyric "call me up, congratulations ain't the real why / there's no pressure besides brilliance, let's say by day nine"
  • The title of The Fugs' EP Thrown Off Atlantic is a reference to the contract dispute with the publisher of their first album, Atlantic Records. Some later releases of The Fug's First Album include a track consisting of a recording of the initial contract signing party for the album, under the title "In the Middle of Their First Recording Session the Fugs Sign the Worst Contract Since Lead Belly's" (a reference to the way Blues legend Huddy 'Lead Belly' Ledbetter was forced to sign over all rights to his songs for a pittance).
    • In similar technically-ineligible honourary mention fashion, The Sex Pistols recorded and released EMI, essentially a punk version of a rap diss track, after being mistreated by and then dropped by the eponymous label despite being one of the hottest properties of the period. Twenty-odd years later, cult oddballs and one-time John Peel show darlings The Cuban Boys produced a cover version of the same, after suffering a similar level of disrespect from one of the industry's biggest names - that first exercised a massive degree of Executive Meddling then failed to promote their album, thus ruining any chance of actual commercial success. Though one suspects that, unlike the Pistols, they kinda preferred it that way, given that the B-side was called "Wilfully Obscure"...
  • Mike Oldfield's song Make Make from the album Heaven's Open is a jab at his then-publisher Virgin Records. It even calls them on the name, in case someone would have missed the reference.
    Mona Lisa, you can stop searching
    Don't you know, we're not Virgin.


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