Say My Name: 15 Great Songs Where Bands Shout Themselves Out | Revolver

Say My Name: 15 Great Songs Where Bands Shout Themselves Out

"We'll never stop, we'll never quit, 'cause we're Metallica!"
metallica young GETTY kill em all era, Ross Marino/Getty Images
photograph by Ross Marino/Getty Images

It doesn't happen often in heavy music, but when it does, there's a certain rush in hearing a band sing their own name in one of their songs. Sometimes, like when Limp Bizkit or Body Count do it, these callouts are pointedly self-referential and positively affirming: "Yeah, I'm the shit," basically. Other times, a band's relatively innocuous name — like Nirvana, for instance — is fit seamlessly and contextually into a song, a clever nod to its makers but mostly just lyrics serving the composition.

From one of hardcore's pioneering bands spelling out their mission statement, to four metallic horseman declaring their own ceaseless fortitude, these are 15 great songs where bands shout themselves out.

A Perfect Circle - "Orestes"

Number of namechecks: 1
Crucial callout: "Pull me into your perfect circle"

This moody Mer de Noms standout is the song that APC bandleader Billy Howerdel is the proudest of writing, and the one he points to as "the overture for A Perfect Circle." It's fitting then that it also includes a clever contextual mention of (most of) the band's name right out of the gates.

Beastie Boys - "Fight for Your Right"

Number of namechecks: 1
Crucial callout: "Your mom busted in and said, what's that noise?/Aw, mom you're just jealous it's the Beastie Boys."

There are bands that subtly embed their names in their lyrics as Easter eggs for fans to uncover. Then there are the Beastie Boys, whose braggadocios gang-chant of their moniker serves as the exclamation point on the party-hard anthem "Fight for Your Right." Plus, the rhyme with "noise" is just too perfect.

Body Count - "Body Count's in the House"

Number of namechecks: 71
Crucial callout: "Body Count's in the house, Body Count"

Ice-T shouts his band name more often than a baseball umpire yells "strike." "Body" and "count" are probably the two most common words in his metal band's lexicon, and they're practically the only words he utters in "Body Count's in the House" — a raging hype song that racks up a whopping 71 namechecks.

Exodus - "Toxic Waltz"

Number of namechecks: 2
Crucial Callout: "This exercise helps you brutalize/With us! Exodus!"

"Here's a new dance craze that's sweeping the nation" opens the Bay Area thrash pioneers' 1991 Headbangers Ball hit. Spoiler alert: They're talking about moshing. It might be a little dangerous, but they want you to do it with them. Who are they? "Exodus!"

Guns N' Roses - "Get in the Ring"

Number of namechecks: 2
Crucial callout: "And in this corner, weighing/In at 850 pounds, Guns N' Roses!"

Use Your Illusion II's anti-media diss track made no bones about who it was targeting. Axl Rose named names — both those of the rock journalists whose asses he was eager to kick, and that of his band. In an unusual step, he even threw in GN'R's collective weight, which, across six members, came to a welterweight average of 142 pounds.

Iron Maiden - "Iron Maiden"

Number of namechecks: 12
Crucial callout: "Iron Maiden's gonna get you, no matter how far" 

Are Iron Maiden the band "gonna get you?" Or are they singing about the neo-medieval torture device that's guaranteed to clamp down on your frame? Or maybe they're singing about the Queen of England, the preeminent Iron Maiden of the land the NWOBHM titans hail from? It's not entirely clear, but it sure is fun as hell to sing back.

Limp Bizkit - "Rollin"

Number of namechecks: 4
Crucial callout: "Jonesin for your fix of that Limp Bizkit mix" 

Rap is a more self-referential genre than metal, and Fred Durst frequently brought that "feeling myself" energy into his band's nu-metal bangers. "Rollin" contains his best, most satisfying namechecks — spelling out "L.I.M.P." at the top of the first verse and dropping it into a few rhymes later on, including the delightful tongue twister mentioned above. 

Metallica - "Whiplash"

Number of namechecks: 1
Crucial callout: "We'll never stop, we'll never quit, 'cause we're Metallica"

A tribute to thrash metal's headbanging fans, this Kill 'Em All battle cry also serves as a calling card for the Four Horsemen themselves. Forty years on, true to their words, Metallica have yet to stop — possible spinal damage, notwithstanding.

Minor Threat - "Minor Threat"

Number of namechecks: 10 
Crucial callout: "We're just a Minor Threat"

Straight-edge or not, any young punk can get behind Ian MacKaye's vivacious call for appreciating youth and not rushing forward to adulthood. "We're just a minor threat," he barks during their eponymous anthem, relishing the double entendre of their titular phrase. They're subverting social norms without posing any actual violence. 

Motörhead - "Motörhead"

Number of namechecks: 10
Crucial callout: "Motörhead, remember me now, motörhead"

Originally a song that Lemmy wrote while in his old band Hawkwind, "Motörhead" is actually an ode to the rocker's love of speed (the drug) that works just as well as an meta anthem about Motörhead (the band) and their love of fast, uncompromising music.

Nirvana - "Paper Cuts"

Number of namechecks: 13
Crucial callout: "Nirvana, Nirvana, Nirvana, Nirvana"

No, the notoriously introverted and self-critical Kurt Cobain wasn't dropping in his band's name for chest-thumping purposes on "Paper Cuts." Rather, he was referencing the word's original meaning — a freedom from pain and suffering, something he clearly yearned for — on this Black Flag-influenced stomper.

Rammstein - "Rammstein"

Number of namechecks: 12
Crucial callout: "Rammstein"

Deutschland's favorite firestarters shout themselves out many times across their catalog, but this David Lynch-approved cut stands out due to the sheer number of times that Till Lindemann intones the titular moniker. Rammstein literally means "Ramming Stone," and the relentless, methodical thud of both the music and Lindemann's gravelly delivery effectively ram the band's name into listeners' ears.

Skid Row - "Youth Gone Wild"

Number of namechecks: 1
Crucial callout: "Hey man, there's something that you ought to know/I tell you Park Avenue leads to Skid Row."

A rip-roaring rebel anthem for every "misfit kid" from "another burned-out town," "Youth Gone Wild" is arguably Skid Row's defining song. The 9-to-5 life ain't for Sebastian Bach and Co., and as the couplet bearing the band's name suggests, working for the man could just leave you high and dry, anyway.

Suicidal Tendencies - "Pledge Your Allegiance"

Number of namechecks: 41
Crucial Callout: "Cause I was born to be (ST)/And I'll always be (ST)/Don't get down on me (ST)/Cause I'm down OG (ST)"

"Pledge Your Allegiance" holds the rare distinction of being a tune jam-packed with self-referential namedrops without once dropping the actual full name of the band. Their initials, "ST," are bellowed over and over again, and a repeated cry of "Suicidal" closes things out. But nary a "Tendencies" to be found. Still, this chant-along fight song does the trick and then some.

System of a Down - "P.L.U.C.K."

Number of namechecks: 2 (kind of)
Crucial callout: "All in a system, down" 

Like Suicidal, SOAD don't technically say their full name in this incendiary freakout, but they come close enough for everyone to know what the hell they're getting at. The song's calls for revolution embody everything they stand for as a band, and if anything, the politically charged, deconstructed version of their moniker is just what we'd expect from a group who've always done things a little differently.