How do I cite song lyrics?
Note: This post relates to content in the eighth edition of the MLA Handbook. For up-to-date guidance, see the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook.
The way you cite song lyrics will vary depending on how you access them and how much information you include in the body of your essay.
If you cite song lyrics from a CD you listened to, you might simply refer to the song in your essay:
“You say you got a real solution,” the Beatles sing in “Revolution 1.”
You can then provide a works-cited-list entry for the album that contains the song. Follow the MLA format template: list the name of the performer or band as the author, the name of the album as the title of the source, the publisher, and the date. In the optional-element slot at the end of the entry, list the format:
Beatles. The Beatles. EMI Records, 1968. CD.
If you cite song lyrics from a booklet accompanying the CD, list a description in the “Title of source” slot and the name of the album as the title of the container:
Beatles. Booklet. The Beatles, EMI Records, 1968.
If you cite lyrics from a website, provide a description in place of the title. Then provide the name of the website, publication information for the site, and the URL:
Beatles. Lyrics to “Revolution 1.” Genius, 2017, genius.com/The-beatles-revolution-i-lyrics.