Pop songs mentioned by title in the lyrics of PSB songs

I don't include in this list words or phrases that simply happen also to be pop song titles. For example, although the line "Footsteps in the dark" appears in the PSB song "Footsteps," I don't think the Boys are actually referring to the 1977 Isley Brothers song "Footsteps in the Dark" itself. True, they may (or may not) have been inspired by it, but the song itself is not being cited. Nor do I include instances where part of an older song has been "interpolated" into the PSB song, such as the quoting of Marvin Gaye's "I Want You" in "Between Two Islands" and of KC and the Sunshine Band's "That's the Way (I Like It)" in "Party Song." Instead, I'm only listing those cases in which a PSB lyric mentions the title of a song because it's indisputably referring to that particular song without actually interpolating any significant portion of the song itself. I hope that makes sense. wink

1. "Tainted Love" by Gloria Jones (and later by Soft Cell)

2. "Love Is Strange" by Mickey & Sylvia (and later by the Everly Brothers, Peaches & Herb, and others)

These two classics were mentioned as poignant signifiers of mood (T.S. Eliot might have called them "objective correlatives") in "I Want to Wake Up."

3. "Please Please Me" by the Beatles

Mentioned for its ironic historical context in "Nothing Has Been Proved."

4. "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina" from Evita (specifically as sung by Madonna)

5. "Into the Groove" by Madonna

These two are mentioned as aesthetic contrasts (the former as "bad Madonna" as opposed to the latter as "good Madonna") in the officially unreleased song "Tall Thin Men."

6. "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square"

This romantic standard, written way back in 1915, has been performed by numerous artists. Its biggest hit rendition was in 1940 by the Glenn Miller Band; in more recent times it has been covered by the Manhattan Transfer (1981), among others. Although "Bright Young Things" doesn't quote the title verbatim (instead saying "a nightingale sings in Berkeley Square"), the allusion to that specific song, serving largely as a bit of "period setting," is indisputable.

7. "Lay Lady Lay" by Bob Dylan

Dylan's 1969 classic, one of his biggest hit singles, is mentioned in the Pet Shop Boys' "Girls Don't Cry" as a song favored by its female protagonist—chosen probably because it underscores her sexual orientation.

8. "Supersonic" by Oasis

Although one-word song titles will coincidentally crop up in the lyrics of virtually any song by any artist, this is a case where there can be no doubt that a specific song with a single-word title is being referenced. In "Gin and Jag" the narrator says, as he's being poured a gin and tonic, that he's "going supersonic." The 1994 Oasis song that surely inspired that line includes the words "I'm feeling supersonic, give me gin and tonic." That's no accident.

9. "White Christmas" by Bing Crosby

Mentioned in "It Doesn't Often Snow at Christmas." Yes, the Boys might be referring to the film rather than the song, but those two perennials are equally likely, and it could just as easily be both. Besides, the film is named after the song, which preceded it by more than a decade.

10. "War" by Edwin Starr (and later by Bruce Springsteen)

Edwin Starr's 1969 anti-Vietnam War protest song (written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong) is not merely mentioned by title but actually quoted in "Happiness Is an Option" when Neil says, "Everyone singing, 'War, what is it good for?' while planning the next one."

11. "Frozen" by Madonna

12. "Secret" by Madonna

A couple of real borderline cases, but since the lines "You're frozen now" and "I want to tell you a secret" appear in "She's Madonna" almost certainly only by virtue of the "Madonna connection," I'm going to list them here. (Incidentally, "This Used to Be My Playground" is also mentioned in the spoken "foreign radio announcer" bit near the end, but I don't really consider that part of the song's lyrics.)

13. "It's Grim Up North" by The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu

Another borderline case. Neil sings "Don't you dare imply that it's grim up North" in "Sexy Northerner," which probably isn't referring to this 1991 U.K. #10 hit single per se, particularly since the title phrase wasn't original with The JAMs but had been used in U.K. popular culture for nearly 20 years beforehand. But it seems most likely that the Boys were well aware of the earlier song and were knowingly evoking its memory when they used it in their own track.

… plus the special cases in "Absolutely Fabulous":

Since they're merely samples spoken in a somewhat mocking manner by Jennifer Saunders or Joanna Lumley, I'm not at all sure they truly qualify as "lyrics." But there's no doubt that this unique PSB track refers to the titles of the following dance songs:

Several other dance tracks are also alluded to, albeit not by title—although a few come very close, such as "Put the needle on the record" nearly echoing the title of the 1987 song "Put the Needle to the Record" by the Criminal Element Orchestra (and exactly replicating a line from the aforementioned "Pump Up the Volume"). And then there's "Are you ready for this?" from 2 Unlimited's 1991 hit "Get Ready for This," and "Techno, techno, bloody techno," which mocks the "Techno, techno, techno" refrain from another 2 Unlimited track, "No Limit" (1993).