I can only assume talent oozes from all these bands, considering every one of these songs have one thing in common – they all started as a joke.
alt-J – Left Hand Free
Singer/guitarist Joe Newman was sitting on this guitar riff for a few years and would play it to make the guys laugh at the writing studio. They decided to work on it and immediately came to the conclusion it wouldn’t have a standard alt-J sound. They recorded it and gave it to their American label, who thought it would make a great radio single.
Blur – Song 2
This is Blur’s attempt at making a parody of the grunge scene in North America. It’s funny because it’s the song that helped Blur break into the North American market.
Half Moon Run – Call Me in the Afternoon
Half Moon Run say this song started as a joke. It’s one of their oldest songs and the guitar part was originally written on the piano. It was only a 1 minute song for quite a while, consisting of little guitar noodles and a drum break.
Kings of Leon – Sex on Fire
This song isn’t completely a joke, but the hook is. It was originally sung as “set us on fire”, but then one of the sound engineers heard “sex on fire” and it became a joke that stuck.
Beck – Loser
After spitting some verses, Beck and the producer were listening back to them, laughing at how bad of a rapper he was so he started singing “I’m a loser baby so why don’t you kill me”.
Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit
Teen Spirit is a type of girl’s deodorant. Kurt Cobain didn’t originally realize that, it came from his friend who wrote “Kurt smells like teen spirit” on her wall. Cobain has said the lyrics just make fun of the idea of having a revolution and are a bunch of contradictory ideas.
Beastie Boys – (You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party)
Beastie Boys wrote this to make fun of all the meat heads and party anthems in rock music at the time. They recorded the vocals as a joke, went on tour, and Rick Rubin the producer they were working with, continued the gag by putting grandiose drums and guitar on it. It became a hit and when they realized their fan base were the same people they were making fun of in the song, they stopped performing it in 1987.
Guns N’ Roses – Sweet Child O’ Mine
One of the most famous joke songs! Sweet Child O’ Mine is one of the most recognizable guitar riffs of all time but it started as a string skipping exercise Slash was doing to warm up. He thought it sounded like circus music, but Axl Rose heard it and wanted to work on it.