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Why does one artist often have songs with the same title as those of another? Examples are listed below:

  • And there is also a coincidence between The Chainsmokers and The Beatles – Arunabh Bhattacharya Jun 15 at 5:21
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    I’m voting to close this question because this question seems more likely to generate lists of songs with the same title. The general question of why songs receive the same title is fundamentally opinion based, and can best be answered in the context of a specific song. – Aaron Aug 29 at 1:38
  • Well see what @Dom told me in the meta question musicfans.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/670/…. – Arunabh Bhattacharya Aug 29 at 1:43
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Searching for songs titled "The One That Got Away" on AllMusic gives 308 hits: https://www.allmusic.com/search/songs/%22The+One+That+Got+Away%22

Searching for songs titled "Wide Awake" on AllMusic gives 327 hits: https://www.allmusic.com/search/songs/%22Wide+Awake%22

Searching for songs titled "Birthday" on AllMusic gives nearly 463 hits: https://www.allmusic.com/search/songs/%22Birthday%22

Searching for songs titled "Rise" on AllMusic gives 1000+ hits: https://www.allmusic.com/search/songs/%22Rise%22

Searching for songs titled "On Top of the World" on AllMusic gives 235 hits: https://www.allmusic.com/search/songs/%22On+Top+of+The+World%22

Searching for songs titled "Thunder" on AllMusic gives 406 hits: https://www.allmusic.com/search/songs/%22Thunder%22

Searching for songs titled "Daylight" on AllMusic gives 600+ hits: https://www.allmusic.com/search/songs/%22Daylight%22

Searching for songs titled "This Love" on AllMusic gives nearly 500 hits: https://www.allmusic.com/search/songs/%22This+Love%22


These are generic titles, applicable — and applied — to many many songs. There is probably no further creative link between these songs by Jake Owen and Katy Perry, by Katy Perry and Selena Gomez, by Imagine Dragons and Boys Like Girls, or by Maroon 5 and Taylor Swift. Their musical sound is also quite different, so it's not even like one is intended to be a musical tribute to the other.

  • There is one more thing I noticed. Imagine Dragons has a song called "Round & Round" in the deluxe version of their first album "Night Visions". Selena Gomez's band "The Scene" also has a song called "Round & Round" in their 2010 album "A Year Without Rain" (which was also in Selena Gomez's 2014 compilation album "For You"). In 2017, Selena Gomez released a single called "Bad Liar". Imagine Dragons also released a song called "Bad Liar" as the fourth single of their 2018 album "Origins". – Arunabh Bhattacharya May 26 at 18:42
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This has to be coincidence. Both titles "This Love" and "Daylight" are very generic titles. There are probably dozens of songs with each of these titles.

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  • There is one more thing I noticed. Imagine Dragons has a song called "Round & Round" in the deluxe version of their first album "Night Visions". Selena Gomez's band "The Scene" also has a song called "Round & Round" in their 2010 album "A Year Without Rain" (which was also in Selena Gomez's 2014 compilation album "For You"). In 2017, Selena Gomez released a single called "Bad Liar". Imagine Dragons also released a song called "Bad Liar" as the fourth single of their 2018 album "Origins". – Arunabh Bhattacharya May 26 at 15:04
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Common words and phrases --as well as less common ones that are particularly poetic, clever or evocative --frequently repeat as song names, typically because the songwriters came up with the same title independently. There's a lot of songs in the world, and song titles are as responsive to trends as any other feature of pop-culture, so this is really not surprising.

It would likely happen even more often, except that songwriters generally try to avoid reusing the names of songs that are particularly well-known, so that their song won't be mistaken for the earlier one.

Everyone once in a long while, a song is named deliberately after another one. One reason is in the hopes of reaping some popularity from the confusion. That wouldn't be done by any well-known or reputable singer. The other is as a tribute. That is extremely rare, probably because of the potential to frustrate and/or disappoint the listener.

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Take a look at Hold On - Wikipedia.

It lists 17 albums and literally hundreds of songs with the title "Hold On". And no, they aren't simply hundreds of covers of the same song.

Here are just the few songs that have their own individual Wikipedia page:

  • "Hold On" (folk song) also known as "Gospel Plow", traditional American folk song
  • "Hold On" (John Lennon song), 1970
  • "Hold On" (Triumph song), 1979
  • "Hold On (To My Love)", a song by Jimmy Ruffin, 1980
  • "Hold On" (Kansas song), 1980
  • "Hold On" (Santana song), 1982, originally by Ian Thomas (1981)
  • "Hold On" (Yes song), 1983
  • "Hold On" (Rosanne Cash song), 1986
  • "Hold On (A Little Longer)", a song by Steve Wariner, 1988
  • "Hold On" (En Vogue song), 1990
  • "Hold On" (Wilson Phillips song), 1990
  • "Hold On" (Sarah McLachlan song), 1993
  • "Hold On" (Tanya Blount song), 1994
  • "Hold On" (Alexia song), 1997
  • "Hold On" (Good Charlotte song), 2003
  • "Bottle Living/Hold On", a single by Dave Gahan, 2003
  • "Hold On" (Stellar Kart song), 2006
  • "Hold On" (KT Tunstall song), 2007
  • "Hold On" (Korn song), 2007
  • "Hold On" (Jonas Brothers song), 2007
  • "Hold On" (Michael Bublé song), 2009
  • "Hold On" (Alabama Shakes song), 2012
  • "Hold On (Shut Up)", a song by MGK, 2012
  • "Hold On" (SBTRKT song), 2012
  • "Hold On" (Sean Paul song), 2012
  • "Hold On" (Skepta song), 2012
  • "Hold On" (Colbie Caillat song), 2013
  • "Hold On" (Nervo song), 2013
  • "Hold On" (50 Cent song), 2014

Most song titles are very short, and there is a limited number of topics that songs are about, so it would be impossible not to reuse titles. And when the title is short and catchy, like "Hold On", it's going to get reused over and over again.

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