A dozen songs that music fans think have a different name

These songs are likely well-known, but ironically, the names of the songs might not be.
The songs have a different name than many might think
The songs have a different name than many might think / Jason Koerner/GettyImages
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You know that song “Come Tomorrow” by the Yardbirds? Sure you do. It has Keith Reif’s yearning chorus, “Come tomorrow – will I be older – Come tomorrow – maybe a soldier – Come tomorrow – will I be bolder – Than today,” over Jeff Beck’s innovative feedback. Cool song, all the way around.

But real Yardbirders know it’s not called “Come Tomorrow,” even though Reif sings that phrase more than anything, and it forms the spine of the chorus. It’s really called “Maybe a Soldier,” a less prominent piece of the chorus. It's kind of a sly counterstep for all of us uneducated fans who just assume whatever the singer sings the most will naturally be the song’s title. Very counter-culture of the Yardbirds, don’t you think?

OK – before all my fellow aging hippies start penning letters to the Times or venting on Reddit, or wherever we all now go to express outrage, I will end this charade and admit I do know the Yardbirds classic is not called either of those names. It’s “Shapes of Things.” (Honestly.) That is the opening line of the song. I guess Reif and company didn’t feel like exerting any further energy in titling the thing so they just named it after the first line. That’s what W. S. Gilbert used to do in all those Gilbert & Sullivan operettas, and if it was good enough for him, well, I suppose it was good enough for the Yardbirds.

A dozen songs with titles that sometimes confuse and confound fans

I further suppose, being psychedelic rockers, they were also paying homage to H.G. Wells’ seminal futurist novel The Shape of Things to Come, written a few decades earlier. Wells absolutely would have been a psychedelic metalhead had such a thing existed in the 1930s. So I think it’s a good title for the song – just a wee bit confusing. And that is what we are talking about today. Obscure song titles. The ones where you think it’s called something else.

Here are the criteria for today’s list. The title has to be an actual lyric in the song. So we’re not choosing “A Simple Desultory Philippic” because Paul Simon never sings those words. (No one ever would.) Nor are we choosing “Brain Stew,” which you may know as “On My Own, Here We Go,” since that’s what Billie Joe Armstrong keeps singing in the chorus.

And we’re not picking quirky little twist titles like “Mary Jane’s Last Dance,” which might have been “Last Dance With Mary Jane,” had Tom Petty not been such a contrarian, or “What’s Up,” had Linda Perry not been concerned audiences would confuse her 4 Non Blondes hit with Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On?”

All right – enough of what the list isn’t. Here’s what it is.