Song Indexes & Resources for Verifying Song Titles

Song indexes and other online resources are great sources for verifying a song title, songwriter, publisher and copyright date.

Online Resources for Verifying Song Titles
Search engines such as Google and Ask can assist in song title verification. It’s best to leave off the quotation marks since some of the title words might be spelled differently. Adding the word “lyrics” will also help narrow your search. If you are certain of some of the lyrics, you can try typing them in quotation marks.

Other good online resources for verifying titles is to check the major performing rights organizations ASCAP and BMI. Both of these organizations maintain databases of songs by all the composers and lyricists they represent.

The United States Copyright Office also maintains information about songs and composers. Instructions for using this database are at Search Copyright Records.

Online Song Indexes 
Searching for a particular song in the following online song indexes will not only provide you with confirmation of a title, but will also indicate the library where the sheet music can be found.  To obtain a copy of the sheet music, an Interlibrary Loan request may be required.

San Francisco Dorothy Starr collection
Los Angeles Song Index
California Library Systems Cooperative Song Index
UT Song Index – University of Tennessee at Knoxville
Popular Song Database – University of Washington
Santa Cruz Sheet Music Index
San Jose Public Library Sheet Music Index

Print indexes
In addition to online song indexes, a number of print song indexes can be used for successful verification of a song title. All reference resources listed here are available at the Adult Reference Services Desk at the Main Library.

Popular music, 1900-1919 / Barbara Cohen-Stratyner, editor.
OPL Call #: REF 784.5 SHAPIRO
Popular music, 1920-1979 / Nat Shapiro and Bruce Pollock, editors.
OPL Call #: REF 784.5 SHAPIRO
Popular music, 1980-1989 / Bruce Pollock, editor
OPL Call #:  REF 784.5 POPULAR
Annual updates of the above titles are also available.

Broadway sheet music : a comprehensive listing of published music from Broadway and other stage shows, 1910-1993 / Donald J. Stubblebine.
OPL Call #: REF 782.14 STUBBLEBI

American song : the complete musical theatre companion  / Ken Bloom
OPL Call #: REF 782.81 BLOOM

American song: the complete companion to Tin Pan Alley song, vols. 3-4.
Lists popular songs, stage tunes, and songs from films.
OPL Call #: REF 016.7845 W581j

Joel Whitburn’s Pop memories, 1890-1954: the history of American popular music / Joel Whitburn
Lists popular songs from the pre-rock and roll era by performing artist.
OPL Call #: REF 789.89 Whitburn

Cinema sheet music: a comprehensive listing of published film music from “Squaw Man” (1914) to “Batman” (1989) / Donald J. Stubblebine.
OPL Call #: REF 782.14 STUBBLEBI

Songs of the theater: A definitive index to the songs of the musical stage / Richard Lewine and Alfred Simon.
OPL Call #: REF 782.81 Lewine

The great song thesaurus / Roger Lax, Frederick Smith
Lists songs by title, songwriter, as well as subject, keyword and category.
OPL Call #: REF 784.5 Lax

Lissauer’s encyclopedia of popular music in America : 1888 to the present / Bob Lissauer
OPL Call #: REF 784.5 LISSAUER

The Green book of songs by subject : the thematic guide to popular music / Jeff  Green 
OPL Call #: REF 782.42164 GREEN

MusicMaster: the 45 RPM record directory : 1947 to 1982
An extensive listing of 78 RPM and 45 RPM records and their B-sides.
OPL Call #: REF 789.9 MusicMas

The Billboard book of top 40 hits: Complete chart information about America’s most popular songs & artists. 9th edition (2010) / Joel Whitburn.
Lists hit singles by recording artist and song title.
OPL Call #: REF 789.9 WHITBURN

Joel Whitburn’s top country singles, 1944-1988; compiled from Billboard’s country charts, 1944-1988. / Joel Whitburn.
OPL Call #: 789.9 WHITBURN (at the Main Library, circulating collection)

Joel Whitburn’s top R & B singles, 1942-1988 / Joel Whitburn.
OPL Call #: 789.9 WHITBURN (at the Main Library, circulating collection)


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