40 celebrities who have songs named after them

·20 min read
pete davidson/drew barrymore/rihanna
Pete Davidson, Drew Barrymore, and Rihanna all have songs named after them. Dimitrios Kambouris; Michael Loccisano; Jackson Lee via Getty
  • Musicians sometimes record songs named after their idols or famous loved ones.

  • Celebrities like Drew Barrymore have more than one song named after them.

  • Artists like Drake have made references to more than one celebrity name in their music.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

"Pete Davidson" is the 14th track on Ariana Grande's fourth studio album "Sweetener."

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Ariana Grande was engaged to Pete Davidson in 2018. Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images

"Pete Davidson" is the most obvious musical reference Grande has made about her ex-fiancé.

"Drew Barrymore" is the fourth track on SZA's debut album "Ctrl."

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Drew Barrymore photographed on Season 17 of "Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen." Bravo/via Getty Images

SZA wrote Barrymore a long letter about how all the actress' roles inspired her and enlisted the actress for her "Drew Barrymore" music video.

"It's about being at that (crappy) house party and seeing girls who have very nice hair and new clothes and sweep the guys you wish were compatible with off their feet," the R&B singer told USA Today about naming the fourth track on her debut album, "Ctrl."

"I started thinking about every movie that you see Drew in. All her roles are this amazing, kind girl who is misunderstood, but just wants to be loved."

Bryce Vine also has a song named after the "50 First Dates" actress.

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Drew Barrymore poses at The Empire State Building on September 14, 2020. Michael Loccisano /Getty Images

"I used this example of what we're all looking for in a companion. She has this charm about her, which is kind of iconic, but she's not who you think of as like a Megan Fox," he told news station KTLA 5 about choosing the actress as inspiration for "Drew Barrymore."

"She just seems so sincere, which is what I found attractive about her."

In 2009, Lil Wayne released the song "Kobe Bryant," inspired by his basketball idol.

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Kobe Bryant was a shooting guard for the Los Angeles Lakers for 20 years. Mark J. Terrill/AP Images

"[Wayne] was like, 'Man, that performance just motivated the hell out of me.' I think it was like game six," Bryant told Genius in a 2019 interview.

"[Wayne] was like, 'I'ma do a song. Is it okay, can I do a song?'" Bryant went on. "I was like, alright cool. I just thought he was bs-ing or whatever. Before the Celtics series he sends me the song and I was like, 'Oh, you were serious. Okay, that's awesome.'"

"Madonna" is the sixth track on Drake's mixtape, "If You're Reading This It's Too Late."

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Madonna photographed at the 2017 Met Gala. John Shearer/Getty Images

Just a couple of months after its release, Drake performed with the "Material Girl" singer at Coachella, in which she unexpectedly kissed him onstage.

Drake released "Girls Love Beyoncé" in April 2013.

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Beyoncé released the visuals for "Already" on July 31, 2020. Disney Plus

"I'm a Beyoncé believer," the rapper said in an interview with Ryan Seacrest. '

"I really believe strongly in her talent and her position in our generation. I think she's one of the biggest stars ever, but especially for these girls right now. I feel like they need Beyoncé."

The track incorporates the hook from "Say My Name," a classic recorded by Beyoncé's former girl group, Destiny's Child.

Nicki Minaj released her song "Marilyn Monroe" in 2012.

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Marilyn Monroe starred in the award-winning 1950 film "All About Eve." Courtesy of Douglas Elliman; Brettman/Getty Images; Yuqing Liu/Insider

The track was made with the 1950s icon in mind, as the rapper incorporated Monroe's famous quote: "I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best."

Verse 1 of Minaj's song goes, "I can be selfish / Yeah, so impatient / Sometimes I feel like Marylin Monroe / I'm insecure / Yeah, I make mistakes / Sometimes, I feel like I'm at the end of the road."

And the song's chorus goes, "Call it a curse / Or just call me blessed / If you can't handle my worst / You ain't getting my best."

"Tim McGraw" was Taylor Swift's first-ever single, released on June 19, 2006.

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Tim McGraw. Frederick Breedon IV/Getty Images

Swift's debut single was named after the country-singing legend.

"I wrote [the song] in my freshman year of high school. I got the idea in math class. I was just sitting there, and I started humming this melody. I kind of related it to this situation I was in," Swift told CMT in a 2006 interview.

"I was dating a guy who was about to go off to college. I knew we were going to break up. So I started thinking about all the things that I knew would remind him of me. Surprisingly, the first thing that came to mind was that my favorite country artist is Tim McGraw," she said.

"Kevin's Heart," a play on Kevin Hart's name, is included on J. Cole's album "KOD."

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Kevin Hart is an American stand-up comedian, actor, and producer. Matthias Nareyek/Getty Images

The comedian was also tapped to star in the music video, which was released on April 24, 2018.

Panic! At The Disco's "Miss Jackson" is named after Janet Jackson and refers to her song "Nasty" in the lyrics.

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Janet Jackson performs at half-time at Super Bowl XXXVIII at Reliant Stadium. Jeff Haynes/AFP/Getty Images

"'Miss Jackson' is about something that actually happened to me when I was younger. I hadn't really talked about it, and I felt that if I didn't, I would keep thinking about it. It would drive me crazy," lead singer Brendon Urie told MTV News in a 2013 interview.

"When I was younger, I would mess around; I'd sleep with one girl one night, sleep with her friend the next night, and not care about how they felt, or how I made them feel. And then it happened to me and I realized 'Wow, that's what that feels like? I feel really s----y.'"

"Jackie Chan" is a 2018 song by Tiesto and Dzeko, featuring Post Malone and Preme.

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Actor and martial artist Jackie Chan starred in "Rush Hour" in 1998. Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

"We asked [Chan] if he liked it. He didn't want to get involved with the song, but he knows about it," Tiësto explained to Zach Sang Show in 2018.

"I think Jackie Chan is such a legend that everybody knows him, so kickin' it like Jackie Chan, it's more like a saying, a play on words."

"John Wayne" is the fourth track on Lady Gaga's fifth studio album "Joanne."

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John Wayne starred in the award-winning film "Stagecoach" in 1939. Silver Screen Collection / Getty Images

Wayne has been the lead character in award-winning films like "Stagecoach" (1939) and "True Grit" (1969).

The track includes the pre-chorus, "Every John is just the same / I'm sick of their city games / I crave a real wild man / I'm strung out on John Wayne."

Cigarettes After Sex has also recorded a song in the Hollywood star's name, which was released on June 9, 2017.

Duck Sauce named "Barbra Streisand" after the Hollywood star.

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Barbra Streisand holding her Emmy Award in 1965. AP

"We've heard from a few second-hand sources that she likes it, but I still want to have tea with her," DJ A-Trak of Duck Sauce told Fuse at the 2012 Ultra Music Festival.

The Chainsmokers named the song "Kanye" after Kanye West.

Kanye West is the subject of unfounded Twitter gossip linking him with Jeffree Star.
Kanye West is an American rapper and fashion designer. Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Sean Combs, Photo by Santiago Felipe/FilmMagic

For fear that they might get sued for using the rapper's name to title their song, Alex Pall and Drew Taggart of The Chainsmokers had their agency reach out to Kanye West's camp.

"As far as we know, he's heard it and really likes it, or likes it enough that he's not going to sue us for any of it," Pall told current affairs program Inside The Story.

"He's the man. I mean, he obviously has some moments you can laugh at, for sure, but like, he's a genius, and you gotta respect someone who has such strong beliefs – not religious beliefs – but just in what he wants to do. There's no half-stepping with him," he added.

Lil Durk also has a song named after West: "Kanye Krazy."

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Kanye West at the 2020 Vanity Fair Oscars Afterparty. Karwai Tang/ Getty Images

The up-and-coming rapper teamed up with directors at Lyrical Lemonade to make the "Kanye Krazy" music video, which highlights West's most memorable moments in his career.

These moments range from stealing the mic from Taylor Swift onstage to his support for Donald Trump.

"Anna Wintour" by Azealia Banks gets its title from the editor-in-chief of Vogue.

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Anna Wintour is the editor-in-chief of Vogue. Mondadori Portfolio / Contributor / Getty Images

"The reason I wanted to call the song 'Anna Wintour' was actually because the beat was a remix of my song called 'Ice Princess,'" she told MTV News.

"Since the tone of the song 'Ice Princess' was about being this cold, frigid person who doesn't need anyone's help," she went on, adding, "It just kind of naturally wrote itself. Like, you know, the pieces were just there. Anna Wintour; Ice Princess; cold-hearted girl; she finally finds love."

"Michael Jordan" is the sixth track on Kendrick Lamar's fourth mixtape, "Overly Dedicated."

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Michael Jordan. Elsa/Getty Images

In a 2013 interview with Chelsea Handler, the rapper compared rapping to playing basketball.

"I basically wanted to show that I'm competitive," he said.

"Before music, I wanted to be Michael Jordan," he continued. "I have a lot of insight on hooping, whether you see it or not."

Logic released "Keanu Reeves" in 2019.

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Keanu Reeves at "Toy Story 4" World Premiere. Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

It has an explicit reference to the "Matrix" star in the opening lyrics, "I'm the one, b----, I am the one, like Keanu Reeves."

Fall Out Boy's "Uma Thurman" is based on the actress's character in "Kill Bill."

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Uma Thurman starred in "Pulp Fiction" in 1994. ANDREW KELLY/Reuters

"Uma Thurman" is the fifth track on the band's "American Beauty/American Psycho" album.

"The thing that I like about a lot of the characters Uma Thurman has played is that she picks these quirky, yet powerful roles," bassist Pete Wentz told Billboard in 2015. "When we were writing the song, I'd play it for people and a lot them immediately thought 'Pulp Fiction.'"

"But to me, I felt like it was more her character in 'Kill Bill.' It's iconic, vengeful," he continued, adding, "If you grew up at all in the '90s, it's hard not to crush on a woman like Uma Thurman."

Jay-Z's "Tom Ford" is named after the fashion designer.

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Tom Ford at an event hosted by Women's Cancer Research Fund. Tibrina Hobson / Stringer/ via Getty Images

"It was great, but when I first saw it performed in a stadium of 60,000 people and my name flashing across this gigantic screen, it was very strange. It made me just want to crawl under a rock," Ford told CNBC International TV about his reaction to the song.

"I'm a very, very private person and I'm extremely shy, which you wouldn't know because I have mastered a kind of public ability to perform. It's part of my job," he continued. "But I'm quite shy and it's very strange when you hear an entire audience saying 'Tom Ford.'"

Rihanna is included in the title of The Wanted's song "Walk Like Rihanna."

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Rihanna poses at the 2019 British Fashion Awards. Jeff Spicer/BFC/Getty Images

The British-Irish boy band put this song on its third studio album, "Word of Mouth," as the sixth track.

"A friend of ours wrote it and when we first heard it we actually laughed, but then we got used to it and did the production on it and then we just thought, you know what, it's a bit fun and we don't take ourselves too seriously," bandmate Max George said on the talk show "Loose Women" in 2013.

"She said she was actually really flattered and she thought it was really fun, which is what we wanted to do," George said of Rihanna's reaction.

Yella Beezy released the song "Stevie Wonder" in 2017.

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Stevie Wonder recorded the hit song "Isn't She Lovely." Kevin Winter/Getty Images

"Stevie Wonder" is about the award-winning musician who has been blind since birth.

The song includes lyrics like, "All I ever thought was just to be one hunna / Gotta wake up all these people that been sleeping on me / So blind to that bulls--- just like Stevie Wonder."

In July 2015, CeeLo Green released "Robin Williams."

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Robin Williams starred in "Dead Poets Society" in 1989. AP

"The record is about humanity," Green told news publication Radio.com about his song "Robin Williams," which followed the actor's death in August 2014.

"I wanted his legacy to be celebrated in song and also it was an opportunity, as a musician, for me to be cathartic and address my own empathy about it, because it was very sobering to get to reflect on my own mortality as well," he said.

"Brad Pitt's Cousin" is on Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' second studio album "This Unruly Mess I've Made."

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Brad Pitt starred in "Fight Club" in 1999. Gregg DeGuire / Getty Images

Throughout the 2016 song, the Seattle rapper playfully says that Brad Pitt is his cousin and makes multiple references to the actor's ex-wife, Angelina Jolie.

U2 has a song called "Elvis Presley and America."

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Elvis Presley was an American singer, musician, and actor. AP

Bono, U2's lead singer, has been a long-time fan of "the King."

This 1984 track is a reaction to a narrative created in Albert Goldman's biography of Presley, which the singer disagrees with.

Kacey Musgraves also took inspiration from Presley for her song "Velvet Elvis."

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Elvis Presley released the hit song "Jailhouse Rock" in 1957. NBCUniversal/Getty

"Velvet Elvis" is the ninth track on Musgrave's fourth studio album, "Golden Hour."

The country singer's tune refers to the famous velvet painting of Elvis in costume holding a mic.

The lyrics go, "You're my velvet Elvis / I ain't never gonna take you down / Making everybody jealous / When they step into my house / Soft to the touch, feels like love / Knew it as soon as I felt it / You're my velvet Elvis, baby."

Capital Cities released "Farrah Fawcett Hair" in 2013.

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Farrah Fawcett was an American actress, fashion model, and artist. Henry Groskinsky/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images

This 2013 ditty mentions other stars like Michael Jackson and Daniel Day-Lewis, but the fashion model's name was picked to be the title.

The song explores a fascination with the model's hair and carries the chorus, "You know it when you see it / You know it when it's there / Like Michael Jackson 'Thriller' / Like Farrah Fawcett hair."

"Dennis Rodman" is the second track on ASAP Ferg's album, "Floor Seats II."

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Dennis Rodman is an American former professional basketball player. Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images

"At a time when people can't actually go to a game, I wanted to provide the experience sonically, and that's what I did," the rapper said in an interview with Denver's radio station, KS 107.5.

"I just wanted to make the players a part of the whole experience. Also, I wanted to give back to the players because they bump my music so much before and after the games. That was my way of giving back."

Ferg additionally enlisted Rodman for the music video.

Mansionz also has a record called "Dennis Rodman," accompanied by a video game-esque music video.

Adam Levine recorded "Moves Like Jagger" with his band Maroon 5.

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Mick Jagger attends "The Burnt Orange Heresy" photocall during the 76th Venice Film Festival. Matteo Chinellato/NurPhoto via Getty Images

"I don't know if we expected Jagger to be so successful. It was one of those songs that was definitely a risk," frontman Adam Levine told Billboard.

"I loved Jagger so I was really worried that it wouldn't be big," he said. "I liked it a lot."

Chiddy Bang has a song named "Ray Charles."

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Ray Charles was an American singer, songwriter, pianist, and composer. AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian

In 2012, Charles' granddaughter, Blair Robinson, told TMZ that the late pianist actually wasn't a big fan of rap music.

However, she said that "as one artist to another, Ray would have respected the group's craft."

She further said that she would've liked to sing the hook on the song.

David Bowie isn't sure if the American artist liked his song "Andy Warhol" or not.

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American artist Andy Warhol produced the famous painting, "Campbell's Soup Cans." Richard Drew, FILE via AP

"He was a very funny, very witty man, but it was a long time before you got him talking," the musician spoke of Warhol in an interview with a music channel, The Best of Vox Pop.

"I wrote the honky dory song before I met him. And then I played it to him at the factory and he said, 'Oh yeah, that's right, that's great.' And that was his critique of the song," he continued. "I don't know if he ever liked it or not."

Bowie was the subject of Phish's "David Bowie."

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David Bowie released the hit song "Space Oddity" in 1969. David Bowie/ YouTube

Bowie also became the subject of a song himself when the American rock band released "David Bowie" on the 1989 album, "Junta."

Dom Kennedy released "Thank You Biggie" in 2015.

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Notorious B.I.G. at the Billboard Music Awards in New York in 1995. AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

In the 2015 track, Kennedy showed his appreciation for rap legend The Notorious B.I.G. and his hit 1996 single, "Get Money."

The 36-year-old artist also previously made a reference to the late rapper via his 2009 track "Notorious Dom 2."

Phantogram has a song called "Bill Murray."

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Bill Murray starred in the 1993 comedy "Groundhog Day." Rocco Spaziani/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images

"We always pictured a sad Bill Murray for the visuals of that song. We want him to be in the music video," vocalist Josh Carter told The Atlantic in 2014.

Sadly, a visual for the project was never made.

"Doris Day" by Jack's Mannequin is a song about lusting after a mystery woman.

FILE - In this Jan. 6, 1976 file photo, actress and singer Doris Day answers questions in New York, during an interview on the book "Doris Day: Her Own Story," written by A.E. Hotchner. Day, whose wholesome screen presence stood for a time of innocence in '60s films, has died, her foundation says. She was 97. The Doris Day Animal Foundation confirmed Day died early Monday, May 13, 2019, at her Carmel Valley, California, home.(AP Photo, File)
Doris Day answers questions in New York, during an interview on the book "Doris Day: Her Own Story," written by A.E. Hotchner. Associated Press

Though the track is titled after the star, her name is never actually mentioned in the song.

Minutemen's song "Bob Dylan Wrote Propaganda Songs" is included on their sophomore album "What Makes a Man Start Fires?"

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Bob Dylan recorded the hit song "Like a Rolling Stone." Getty

The "propaganda songs" the title refers to include Dylan's "Blowin' In The Wind" and "Subterranean Homesick Blues," which are known for their political awareness as well as changing the course of history.

"Steve McQueen" by Sheryl Crow was released on July 15, 2002.

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Steve McQueen starred in the 1968 crime drama, "The Thomas Crown Affair." Silver Screen Collection/via Getty Images

In the music video, she plays out the actor's famous motorcycle chase in the 1963 film, "The Great Escape," as well as his car chase scene in the 1968 film "Bullitt."

In 2011, M83 also recorded a song in McQueen's name.

Bananarama made the song "Robert De Niro's Waiting…" simply because De Niro was one of their favorite actors.

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Robert De Niro starred in "Goodfellas." Getty

"At the time, our favorite actors were Al Pacino and De Niro, but obviously Robert De Niro scanned better, " Bananarama founding member Sara Dallin told The Guardian in a 2017 interview.

"Luckily, the public loved it. So many people tell me it's their favorite Bananarama song. I'm so proud of it and what we did," she added.

Weezer paid tribute to rock-and-roll legend Buddy Holly.

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Buddy Holly was an American singer-songwriter in the mid-1950s. Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

The song also makes reference to another celebrity: Mary Tyler Moore.

Scissor Sisters' frontman had a dream about Paul McCartney and then made "Paul McCartney."

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Sir Paul McCartney sits in front of his oil painting "Unspoken words." AP Photo/POOL/David Eustace

"This was one of those where we were sitting around and [Carlos Alomar] was playing bass, and we constructed this little track together," Shears told music technology magazine Sound on Sound in a 2006 interview.

"Me, Marlon Brando, Marlon Brando And I" by R.E.M. is "entirely made up, but it's sincere."

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Marlon Brando won the Academy Award for Best Actor twice. Donaldson Collection / Contributor / Getty Images

Brando is one person lead singer Michael Stipe would invite to his dream dinner party, as he told The Guardian in 2020.

But, the song is not only about Brando. It's about Neil Young, too.

"It's about me going to Neil Young for advice... It's entirely made up, but it's sincere," Stipe told the British newspaper what the song is about in a 2011 interview.

"I hold Neil in high regard, but I have never asked him for advice, though I am sure he would have honored it if I had."

Brand New released "Jude Law and a Semester Abroad" in 2001.

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Jude Law on the red carpet at Anna Karenina's World Premiere. Sang Tan/AP

Law, who is British, isn't explicitly mentioned in the lyrics, but the song make reference to"English boys"

The chorus goes, "Tell all the English boys you meet / About the American boy back in the States / The American boy you used to date / Who would do anything you say."

Donald Trump was not happy about Mac Miller's 2011 song "Donald Trump."

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Donald Trump. Rogelio V. Solis/AP

While "Donald Trump" was made in admiration of the businessman's success, it was not well-received by him.

In 2013, he shared a series of tweets showing his disapproval.

"Little @MacMiller, you illegally used my name for your song 'Donald Trump' which now has over 75 million hits," he tweeted, adding in a follow-up that he was going to teach Miller "a big boy lesson about lawsuits and finance."

"Little @MacMiller, I want the money not the plaque you gave me," he wrote.

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