Donielle Flynn

KISS - !0-15-21 Pine Knob

Inspiration for songs comes from SO MANY places. Songs that started as jokes are some of my favorite stories.  KISS has a couple, plus  GNR, BTO, Elton John, and Stealers Wheel. If you don’t know the story behind “Stuck in the Middle With You,” please read on.  That happy-go-lucky ditty has an extremely sarcastic side.

If you’re looking for jokes not related to classic rock, Big Jim and Ryan lead the world in DAD JOKES.

If you know of a song and a story that fits this topic please let me know!  I’d love to expand the list! [email protected]

Classic Rock Songs That Started as Jokes

  • Christine Sixteen - Kiss

    Gene Simmons wrote and sang “Christine Sixteen.” Gene was ripping on Paul Stanley for writing songs about girls and love.  He said, “All you ever do is write girl songs like ‘Christine Sixteen.”  Gene thought about his made-up title and decided it was actually a great name for a song. The rest is KISStory.

  • "Sweet Child 'O Mine" - Guns N Roses

    This song’s signature lick started as an exercise. Slash doing a string-skipping exercise while he and Steven Adler warmed up. Axl heard what Slash was playing and wrote lyrics to the riff. Originally, the song has three verses, but the producer decided to cut it to two and added a final breakdown. Axl had not prepared for this. He sang, “Where do we go now?” because he didn’t know where they were going next with the song.  The producer said, “Just sing that.”

  • "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet" - Bachman-Turner Overdrive

    Randy Bachman never considered “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet” a song that would be anything really.  Many of the lyrics he improvised because he used the song as a warm-up.  Bachman originally recorded the stutter version of the song as a private joke for his brother, Gary, who had a stutter.  The song was never meant to be heard outside the group.  When it came time to release their album, the record company wasn’t overly impressed with any of the songs Randy played them.  Randy decided to play them the private recording and they loved it.  Randy agreed to put it on the album if he could record it WITHOUT the stutter, but the record company insisted on the original.  The song went on to become the first and only number one on the Hot 100 for BTO.

  • "The Bitch Is Back" - Elton John

    This story is AMAZINGLY FUN.  Elton was on a roll complaining  about everyone and everything one day, when Bernie Taupin’s wife, Maxine, saw him and said “Uh-Oh, the bitch is back.” Bernie thought this was a fantastic song title and wrote the song about Elton.  Elton wrote the music.  Elton was an extremely good sport about it and has referred to “The Bitch is Back” as, “kind of my theme song.”  Some radio stations tried to edit the song, but since “bitch” is in the song 42 times, the edit sounded ridiculous.

  • "Stuck in the Middle With You" - Stealers Wheer

    This song is one of the biggest disses ever written.  Gerry Rafferty wrote it to mock Bob Dylan.  I straight up think Dylan is an amazing lyricist, but the business Rafferty gives him is impressive.  The lyrics about clowns and jokers refer to Dylan’s tendency toward paranoid song lyrics.  Even the vocals are meant to mimic Dylan’s voice (many times this song has been mistaken for a Dylan song). Gerry Rafferty mocked one of the most legendary singer-songwriters and got a number one hit out of it. #powned

  • "Beth" - KISS

    “Beth” or “Beck” as it was originally written, is a song that predates Peter Criss joining KISS.  Peter was in the band, Chelsea, at the time with Stan Penridge.  The song is about another band member’s wife, Becky.  She would constantly call and interrupt band practice.  After Peter Criss joined KISS he and Penridge revived the song.  With the help of their producer, Bob Ezrin, “Beck” became “Beth,” and the original lyrics, “I know you love complaining, but Beck what can I do?” were changed to “I think I hear them callin’, Oh, Beth what can I do?”  According to Penridge, many of the lyrics were direct responses from fellow bandmate, Mike Brand, when answering calls from his wife.

Sign me up for the 94.7 WCSX email newsletter!

Stay connected to all things Classic Rock, join the WCSX Workforce- it’s free and you can win prizes, concert tickets and VIP experiences.

By clicking "Subscribe" I agree to the website's terms of Service and Privacy Policy. I understand I can unsubscribe at any time.