So I had this bright idea of writing this trial balloon of a post elsewhere and post the completed item here. Ah, but I got no responses to the core question, though I DID think of another, VERY obvious example.
There is this song called Magnet and Steel by a guy named Walter Egan that was a Top 10 song in 1978. I liked it, as it had a certain stroll feeling. Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham, the newish and commercially successful additions to Fleetwood Mac, sing on the chorus, BTW. I bought the album Not Shy, on vinyl – still have it, in fact – and realized that Magnet & Steel served as a quasi-title song for the album. The line in the chorus, “With you, I’m not shy,” is sung several times.
This got me wondering: what other songs functionally serve as the title song, but are not the actual title of the album? That is, the title of the album appears in the lyric of the song? Note: only the first batch has links to the songs.
Brain Damage by Pink Floyd from Dark Side of the Moon, possibly the most famous.
Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana from Nevermind, the obvious choice I didn’t think of until much later.
Sunny Came Home by Shawn Colvin from A Few Small Repairs.
Washington Bullets by the Clash from Sandinista!
I’m Lucky by Joan Armatrading from Walk Under Ladders.
Alison by Elvis Costello from My Aim Is True.
You Learn by Alanis Morissette from Jagged Little Pill.
Down on the Corner by Creedence Clearwater Revival from Willy and the Poor Boys.
Scarborough Fair by Simon & Garfunkel from Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme.
One I just discovered: Great Spirit by Robert Plant from the Fate of Nations album. Here are some of the lyrics:
I love my brother, I must share the seed
That falls through fortune at my feet
The Fate of Nations and of all their need
Lies trapped inside of these hearts of greed
That Day Is Done by Paul McCartney from Flowers in the Dirt:
“She Sprinkles Flowers In The Dirt
That’s When A Thrill Becomes A Hurt,
I Know I’ll Never See Her Face.
She Walks Away From My Resting Place.”
Close enough: Fine Line by Paul McCartney contains a line about “chaos and creation”, though the album is Chaos and Creation in the Backyard.
The naming of live albums falls into this category:
Karn Evil 9 by Emerson, Lake, and Palmer from Welcome Back My Friends to the Show That Never Ends.
I Don’t Want to Go Home by Southside Johnny and the Asbury Dukes from Reach Up and Touch the Sky.
At least two Paul Simon greatest hits so titled (or subtitled):
Graceland on Shining Like A National Guitar
Train in the Distance from Negotiations and Love Songs
Similarly, You Can Dance is the opening phrase of the Madonna song Get Into the Groove and the title of a dance compilation album of her songs.
This is what I’d like to know: can you think of any others? The live album Steal Your Face by Grateful Dead is named after the song He’s Gone, but that song does not appear on the album, so that wouldn’t count.
Ken Jennings is wondering “what the greatest trio of back-to-back-to-back album tracks in pop history might be. Some other candidates that leaped to mind…”
“Where the Streets Have No Name,” “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” and “With or Without You” from U2′s The Joshua Tree
“Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” “With a Little Help from My Friends,” and “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” from the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper
“Ziggy Stardust,” “Suffragette City,” “Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide” from David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
“Glory Days,” “Dancing in the Dark,” and “My Hometown” from Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the U.S.A.