Honor Their Musical Heroes

The other host, Greg Kot, listed Stevie Wonder’s “Sir Duke” and Van Morrison’s “Jackie Wilson Said (I’m In Heaven When You Smile).” Besides the four mentioned on the show, here are ten other artists who have honored their musical idols with songs.

Dexy’s Midnight Runners: Come On Eileen

Johnny Ray, obviously an idol of songwriter Kevin Rowlands, is referenced in the first line of the band’s biggest hit.

David Bowie: Song For Dylan

Before he became Ziggy Stardust and Major Tom, Bowie was the acoustic folk rock genius who idolized Dylan on this track from Hunky Dory.

Bob Dylan: Song For Woody

Only two of the songs on his self-titled debut were originals, but this one certainly provided promises of the type of writer Dylan was going to become.

Wilco: Heavy Metal Drummer

Jeff Tweedy recalls his adoration of Kiss in this chorus of this gem from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.

Billy Bragg: I Dreamed I Saw Phil Ochs Last Night

The British folk-rocker ruminates about the late protest singer, even pointing out how the F.B.I. had investigated him.

ABC: When Smokey Sings

After having major hits like “The Look of Love” and “Poison Arrow,” the pop band scored again with this tribute to the leader of the Miracles.

Ambrosia: Danse With Me George

David Pack shows an extraordinary interest in the love affair between the composer Chopin and the writer George Sand, which he turned into an epic song on Somewhere I’ve Never Travelled.

Roberta Flack: Killing Me Softly

This song was composed shortly after its writers had been emotionally overcome by someone’s description of watching Don McLean perform, even before American Pie had been released.

The Guess Who: Lightfoot

A group of Canadian hit makers pays homage to their fellow countryman in this praiseful ballad to the folk rock singer, Gordon Lightfoot.

The Who: Baba O’ Riley

Pete Townshend chose the surname in this opening track for Who’s Next to honor Terry Riley, whose jazz-fused Indian music greatly influenced the British rock quartet’s primary songwriter.