5 Great Songs Almost Ruined by Their Original Titles

By Brandon Specktor

It's hard to do worse than 'Vampires in Love'.

5 Great Songs Almost Ruined by Their Original Titles
Photo: Ali Blumenthal

1. ‘Hey Jude’ was ‘Hey Jules’
When John and Cynthia Lennon split in 1968, Paul McCartney felt so bad for their five-year-old son, Julian, that he drove out to the suburbs to console him. By the time he arrived, McCartney had written the boy a ballad called ‘Hey Jules’ – a name he later obscured before sharing the song with the world.

2. ‘Mrs. Robinson’ was ‘Mrs. Roosevelt’
While scoring The Graduate, director Mike Nichols turned his lonely eyes to Simon and Garfunkel. Paul Simon was too busy touring to write, but he had been tinkering with a tune called ‘Mrs. Roosevelt’, a tribute to Eleanor Roosevelt and the glorious past. Nichols agreed to use it if Simon agreed to change the title. He did.

3. ‘Total Eclipse Of The Heart’ was ‘Vampires In Love’
Bonnie Tyler’s wrenching ballad about “love in the dark” was almost much darker. According to lyricist Jim Steinman, “I actually wrote that to be a vampire love song … Its original title was ‘Vampires in Love’ because I was working on a musical of Nosferatu.”

4. ‘Tutti Frutti, aw rootie’ was ‘Tutti Frutti, Good Booty’
Frustrated in the studio one day, struggling artist Little Richard started hammering the nearest piano and belting out a raunchy tune he used to play in southern clubs. Producer Bumps Blackwell liked what he heard but eventually swapped ‘good booty’ for a slang expression meaning ‘all right’. The rest, as they say, is aw rootie.

5. ‘Iron Man’ was nearly ‘Iron Bloke’
Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi had just written one of the greatest rock riffs of all time, but he needed lyrics. Ever inspired, vocalist Ozzy Osbourne posited that the riff sounded just like “a big iron bloke walking about.” For months, ‘Iron Bloke’ remained the song’s working title.

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