The cardigan in question.
All the talk about Kurt Cobain tributes this week got us thinking about songs that pay homage to the Nirvana great. There are quite a few out there. But musicians writing songs about other musicians have a long history-- "Sweet Home Alabama" is basically a dis track against Neil Young, for example. With all the casualties of the grunge scene, you could probably write a whole list of nothing but tributes, like Temple of the Dog's "Say Hello 2 Heaven," about Mother Love Bone's departed frontman Andrew Wood. Heck, according to Wikipedia, there are at least six songs in memory of Layne Staley of Alice in Chains. But that would get a bit tearful and gloomy. So without further ado, here are the 10 best songs by musicians about other musicians.
The cardigan in question.
10. Bikini Kill: "Thurston Hearts The Who"
Not that pleasant to listen to, but worth including because 1. It mentions two artists in one title. 2. Bikini Kill.
9. Drive-By Truckers: "George Jones Talkin' Cell Phone Blues"
Patterson Hood imagines what would happen if country great George Jones died in a car crash while talking on his cell phone. Yeah.
8. Beck: "Ozzy"
Ozzy ozzy ozzy ozzy ozzy ozzy . . . as one YouTube commenter put it, "Beck Sabbath"? Beck at his weird best.
7. Local H: "Eddie Vedder"
Infinitely more pleasant than listening to a Pearl Jam song. Also, what is with the '90s frontman obligatory middle-part?
6. Telekinesis: "50 Ways"
"Paul Simon probably said it the best--there truly are 50 ways" is a reference to the classic Simon song "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover."
5. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart: "Kurt Cobain's Cardigan"
The title of the song references the Nirvana singer's penchant for cardigan sweaters.
4. Television Personalities: "I Know Where Syd Barrett Lives"
Dan Treacy and company take on the subject of the Pink Floyd guitarist's mysterious disappearance. Barrett has also been mentioned in song by Robyn Hitchcock, The Trashcan Sinatras, and Kevin Ayers.
3. LCD Soundsystem: "Daft Punk Is Playing at My House"
"Daft Punk is playing at my house/everybody's PA is at my house." Even the video is a sendup of Spike Jonze's and Michel Gondry's music videos for Daft Punk's "Da Funk" and "Around the World."
2. Jonathan Richman: "Velvet Underground"
How in the world were they making that sound? Velvet Underground.
1. The Replacements: "Alex Chilton"
Paul Westerberg pays tribute to the great Big Star songwriter, Alex Chilton. Chilton actually played guitar on the song "Can't Hardly Wait" from the same album, 1987's Pleased to Meet Me.
The list goes on! What song would you include? Add it in the comments!