11 Rock Songs That Were Originally Written As Jokes

April 1, 2019

Not every hit song comes from a place of great inspiration or passion. Some are made just for the sake of being nonsensical and silly. And it turns out that some of those joke songs turn out to major hits!

Naturally there are artists that do it for the laughs like Weird Al Yankovic and Red Peters, but even some of the biggest acts in the world flexed their funny bones and penned lyrics that were never meant to be taken seriously in the first place.

1. Beck - "Loser"

Before he hit it big, Beck Hansen was just another struggling musician in the '90s trying to hustle his way through the streets of Los Angeles, CA. After performing literally everywhere from bars, clubs, coffee houses, and the LA streets, Beck developed a talent of singing random lyrics on the spot to see if anybody was paying attention. When he wrote and recorded "Loser," he used the same skill with sarcastic lyrics like I'm a loser, baby, so why don't you kill me?"

Beck also used "Loser" as a change to half-ass his attempt at rapping.

2. Quiet Riot - "Cum On Feel the Noize"

Originally recorded by '70s glam rockers Slade, Quiet Riot popularized the song with their '83 cover. Suggested that they cover the song by their producer, the members of Quiet Riot were firmly opposed to it. They butted heads so much that the band members willingly went out of their way to mess up their recording sessions on purpose. Drummer Frankie Banali would make up the drum beats on the spot and vocalist Kevin DuBrow would loudly sing his parts off-key. Next thing they knew, they "Cum On Feel the Noize" was a hit.

3. The Beatles - "I Am The Walrus"

After the Beatles shot up to the pinnacle of stardom in the '60s, John Lennon received a letter that his former English teacher at his old high school was holding a class on analyzing Beatles song lyrics. In response, Lennon wrote "I Am The Walrus" to confuse and irritate anyone trying to find a deeper, poetic meaning behind the song, when in fact, it had absolutely nothing to do with anything.

4. Nirvana - "Smells Like Teen Spirit"

It was the anthem of the '90s that was able to kill off nearly every glam metal band as well as dethrone Michael Jackson from being the #1 artist in the USA. And it all started because his former girlfriend wrote "Kurt Smells Like Teen Spirit" in spraypaint on his wall. Kurt then used it as the title of Nirvana's biggest song, unaware that "Teen Spirit" was actually the name of his girlfriend's favorite deodorant.

5. Blur - "Song 2"

Try not to look too deep into the meaning behind "Song 2," because the British rockers wrote the song just to make fun of the explosion of the Seattle grunge scene. Sure enough, some heavy guitar riffs and some senseless lyrics later, they had a hit song in the US.

6. Beastie Boys - "(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party!)"

During the '80s, glam metal was king and party songs were the anthem of the decade. Beer-chugging, head-banging, property-destroying, and havoc-causing were the bedrock for the Beastie Boys' song, considering that they wrote it to be the ultimate parody of party anthems at the time.

7. Kings Of Leon - "Sex On Fire"

It was the song that launched them from indie rockers to stadium-fillers that frontman Caleb Followill had zero motivation to finish. After he couldn't think of any lyrics, Caleb would often sing "This sex is on fire" just for a quick laugh. But after his bandmates wanted the lyric in the song, it stayed after their producer mistook the lyric "Set us on fire" for "Sex on fire."

8. Sex Pistols - "Submission"

When their manager asked them to write a song about bondage called "Submission," instead they went in another direction and wrote a song about a submarine mission.

9. Stealers Wheel - "Stuck In The Middle With You"

You may remember it from the ear-cutting scene from Reservoir Dogs, but the meaning behind Stealers Wheel's "Stuck In The Middle With You" isn't nearly as dark. Instead, lead singer Gerry Rafferty wrote the song as a parody of Bob Dylan's drug-fueled episodes, especially trying to sound just like him.

10. Guns N' Roses - "Sweet Child O' Mine"

It may have been GNR's greatest hits, but it was also written in as little as five minutes, especially since it's famous guitar intro was just Slash playing around with some string exercises. While frontman Axl Rose overheard Slash playing it over and over, he wanted to have it included in "Sweet Child O' Mine," despite that Slash thought it sounded like electric circus music.

Then after their producer told them that the song needed a dramatic ending, Rose jokingly kept singing "where do we go now?" because he couldn't think of any other way to finish the song. 

11. Steam - "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye"

Chances are you mainly know the chorus because you cheerfully sang it while watching someone get booted off a football field or out of a bar for rowdy behavior. But according to Steam's Paul Leka, it was written out of spite. Frustrated that '60s radio DJs would only play the b-sides of songs he wrote, he intantionally wrote "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye" to be as unlistenable as possible. Instead, it turned out to be tha band's biggest song.