5 Songs the Internet Thinks Are by the Wrong Artist


Oh, sorry about that. It's just that this is the third, and I think final, installment in a series of articles I've done about popular songs that many people mistakenly believe are sung by other artists. Read the first and the second. As you can see, I've tried repeatedly to explain the rules of this game, but both articles were riddled with comments by people who completely misunderstood the premise.

So let me be clear: This article is NOT about popular songs that are actually covers of songs written by other artists. I'm glad you know Bob Dylan wrote "All Along the Watchtower," made famous by Jimi Hendrix, and I'm super impressed that you also know Dolly Parton wrote the Whitney Houston hit "I Will Always Love You," but that is not my premise.

This article is about songs that people think are sung by artists who have nothing to do with them. Although humans have been getting stuff wrong for centuries, in recent years the Internet has really facilitated these mistakes. Some putz uploads a song incorrectly to YouTube or Napsteresque sites and suddenly hordes of young newbs fill their minds with flawed data, perpetuating the error.

Without further ado, here are five songs that a surprising number of people think are by the wrong artist.

#5. "Sex and Candy" Is Not by Nirvana

Like most of the entries in this week's installment, I took this suggestion straight from the comments. I had to, because it never would have occurred to me that anyone could ever think that Marcy Playground's "Sex and Candy" is by Nirvana. Partly because Cobain died before it ever came out, but more because it sounds nothing like Nirvana.

John Wozniak of Marcy Playground wrote this song. It peaked at No. 8 on the charts in 1997. It was an exciting time. Clinton was president, I was dating a young woman who would later become my wife and Kurt Cobain was super fucking dead. How dead was Cobain in 1997? So dead that even Courtney Love's music career was on the wane. So yeah, in 1997 Cobain was more about decomposing than composing.

I'm so sorry about that.

How Did This Happen? It might be a controversial theory, but I blame stupid people. Or young people. Or young, stupid people. Only in the most superficial way is this song Nirvana-esque. It's moody and hooky. So are half the women on SuicideGirls. It doesn't mean they fronted a three-piece that helped kill hair metal in the early '90s.

No. The correct answer is "Kill yourself."

#4. While "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)" Is Terrible, It's Not by Jimmy Buffett

Here's a terrible song you probably don't think about often, but you've definitely heard. It's called "Escape," although it's better known by its parenthetical title, "(The Pina Colada Song)." Did you know it reached No. 1 at the end of 1979, then dipped down to No. 2 for the first week of 1980, and then hit No. 1 again, making it the only song to hit No. 1 in two different decades? Did you? I didn't either. That's all Wikipedia. But I did know it was written and recorded by Rupert Holmes, and that's apparently a lot, because a bunch of clowns seem to think it's by Jimmy Buffett.

The wall of wrong.

In any event, here's Rupert doing it up with an introduction by the Village People, no less:

How Did This Happen? I also have a theory about this one, and it goes a little something like this: Jimmy Buffett sings lots of terrible songs that suck. "Escape" is a terrible song that sucks. No one knows who Rupert Holmes is. Voila! People assume Jimmy Buffett sang "Escape." Also, it's got a silly drink in it, like Buffett's "Margaritaville." It's really not rocket science, and I have to say, I'm not too offended by people who make this mistake. It's like someone getting pissed off about a Cracked reader mixing up Ian Fortey and Adam Tod Brown. Both have been shown to cause mental retardation in laboratory rats, and both have then eaten those rats.

#3. "The Warrior" Is Sung by Patty Smyth, Not Pat Benatar

Now we come to possibly the most forgivable mistake of all the entries in these three articles. In 1984, Scandal, featuring Patty Smyth, had a fairly large hit with "The Warrior," and as I'll explain below, lots of people think it's a Pat Benatar song. You can find some of those people here, but I'm going to embed the real clip, mostly because this video made a prepubescent Gladstone try super hard to go through puberty early. Especially at 3:30.

How Did This Happen? How did it not? To my mind, people mixed these up because they were both sung by tiny, sassy, sexy, big-voiced brunettes in the early '80s. Then I thought about it some more and, yeah, "The Warrior" could fit in with Benatar's stuff stylistically. Then I thought about it some more, and I realized that Pat and Patty are like totally the same name. (That one took me a minute. I'm just smarter than morons online, but not like, y'know, actually smart.)

Then I really put my thinking cap on. "The Warrior" and Benatar's "Love Is a Battlefield" were both really big hits in 1984, and they both have violent shoot 'em love symbolism. You can understand why someone would conflate the two and think the lyric "shooting at the walls of heartache" would be in a song called "Love Is a Battlefield." And then I did something I really hate -- a little research. Both songs were co-written by the same person -- Holly Knight -- who apparently is a super hard chick to date. Other Knight compositions include "Breaking My Lover's Bones," "Happy Cage Fight Anniversary" and, of course, "Loving You Is a Cock-Punch to the Heart."

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