Discussion: Creative Song Titles

I was listening in the car today to a track from the Caitlin Cary and Thad Cockrell album Begonias.   It’s a winding, bittersweet epic that clocks in at over seven minutes.   The title?   “Conversations About a Friend (Who’s in Love with Katie).”   It captures the content and mood of the song, rather than just taking a line from the chorus and making it the title.

Though I can name countless pop and rock songs like that, I couldn’t think of too many country examples of this.   There’s Emmylou Harris’ “Prayer in Open D”, which is as evocative a title as it is a song.   Rosanne Cash’s “Blue Moon with Heartache” was actually a #1 hit despite its mysterious title, which captures the muddled, melancholy moodiness of the track.

Then there’s my ring tone for a good two years, Dixie Chicks’ “Lubbock or Leave It.”   Since it’s the only upbeat selection and you can never have enough Dixie Chicks, I’ve embedded the “Lubbock” clip below.   The title really captures the spirit of the feisty performance, which is my personal favorite from their most recent album.

What do you think are some of the most creative song titles in country music?

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20 Comments

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20 Responses to Discussion: Creative Song Titles

  1. Soul Miner's DaughterNo Gravatar

    Big Kenny’s “Last Dollar (Fly Away)”.

  2. LanibugNo Gravatar

    Pony – Ashley Monroe

  3. Chris D.No Gravatar

    “Grandpa (Tell Me ‘Bout The Good Ole Days)” by the Judds jumps out of me for some reason, it’s a very distinctive title. It also sums up the song well.

  4. Wynonna’s “Flies On The Butter (You Can’t Go Home Again)” – I Always thought that this was one of the coolest titles ever, there’s just something I like about it. That and it’s a good song.

  5. Leeann WardNo Gravatar

    I don’t know if it’s all too creative, but Garth’s “That Summer” is an interesting title considering it’s not pulled from the chorus and is from the first line of the song, “I went to work for her that summer”. The seemingly random title aptly captures the point of the song though.

    Provocative question. I’ll try to think of something better.

  6. SheldonNo Gravatar

    Old Flames Can’t Hold a Candle to You
    In The Good Old Days (When Times Were Bad)

    This is a tough one – I never realized how few songs are titled NOT using lines from the song…Albums are a little easier, but still difficult…

  7. JaneNo Gravatar

    The Night Before (Life Goes On) – Carrie, I think is an interesting one.

  8. Erik NorthNo Gravatar

    How about these:

    Jerry Lee Lewis–”What’s Made Milwaukee Famous (Has Made A Loser Out Of Me)

    Johnny Cash–”The One On The Right (Is On The Left)

    Tom T. Hall–”A Week In A Country Jail

    I’d also put in a word for Linda Ronstadt’s very first hit, the 1967 folk-rock classic “Different Drum.” (being that she did influence country music without actually ever boxing herself in that or any other genre). The title is mentioned right off the top and not anywhere else in the song, but it does set the tone for pretty much the rest of Linda’s career and her philosophy of life. She has always traveled to the beat of a different drum.

  9. CaseyNo Gravatar

    “The Talkin’ Song Repair Blues” by Mr. Alan Jackson and (not sure who the original artist was–I only have the Johnny Cash Unearthed version) “Father And Son.”

  10. CFNo Gravatar

    I love “Lubbock or Leave It” and echo that choice (that title always reminded me of Merle Haggard’s line in “Fightin’ Side of Me” about “if you don’t love it, leave it…”)

    I can’t really think of any of my own, but one that comes to mind (one that doesn’t say the title of the song), and while it’s not “creative”, it sure takes on a bigger meaning when you hear all the lyrics to the song. Johnny Cash’s “The Wanderer”. Would be a scary world!

  11. MartoneNo Gravatar

    Love the Begonias CD by the way. Big fan of Thad and Caitlin(back from the days of Whiskeytown). If you haven’t already you could also check out her other group, “Tres Chicas”. As far as creative song titles, I thought of many of hand. The songs should be checked out too if you’re not familiar with them. they’re good ones.

    “Gun Sale at The Church” by The Beat Farmers
    “I Met Jesus in a Bar” by Jim Lauderdale (quite possibly one of the best country songs ever written imo) and a couple more by the late Chris Gaffney (of Dave Alvin and The Guilty Men and The Hacienda Brother fame) “Don’t Let Love Tear Apart(what lust has brought together)” and “Alcoholidays”.

  12. Chris N.No Gravatar

    “Father and Son” was written and originally recorded by Cat Stevens (AKA Yusuf Islam).

  13. “There’s A Stone Around My Belly” by Darrell Scott

    “Chance and Circumstance” by Neal Coty

  14. Erik NorthNo Gravatar

    David Allan Coe–”You Never Even Call Me By My Name“*

    *–a.k.a. “The Perfect Country & Western Song”

  15. CharlieNo Gravatar

    Standing Knee Deep in A River (and Dying of Thirst)Kathy Mattea

  16. CharlieNo Gravatar

    whoops, i just reread the post. Guess the above doesn’t capture the spirit of the discussion. I’ll rethink

    though while i am here “role model” by eminem, while not country, seems to fit better.

  17. Soul Miner's DaughterNo Gravatar

    Tom T. Hall: “I Like Beer”.
    About says it all….

  18. MartoneNo Gravatar

    Have you ever heard the original version of You never even called me by my name by Steve Goodman? Quite different in the vocals, and the chord progression is different too. The first version I heard was the original.

  19. ScottNo Gravatar

    “Nickajack”–River Road
    “Cowboy Take me Away”–Dixie Chicks (only becasue it’s a play on those Calgon Commercials, which Im old enough to remember.)

  20. SheldonNo Gravatar

    Just thought of a good one;
    “Hobo’s Meditation” from the original Trio album. Anyone who does not have this CD should run out and buy it – or download it now…what a great, great CD.

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