Revealed: The Actual Meaning Behind the World’s Most Famous Songs

Countless people play music exclusively for the sake of the catchy melody, paying no attention to the lyrical content or the historical context of the music they are listening to. The fact remains that many songs contain hidden meanings or were written by legends using aliases, such as “Manic Monday” by The Bangles, which was written by “Christopher,” alias Prince, and recorded by the Bangles in 1967. And that isn’t even the most incredible music fact; keep reading to learn about even more fascinating musical facts!

Mother And Child Reunion

A song titled “Mother and Child Reunion” was released as the lead single from Paul Simon’s second studio album. However, there is something that many people have no idea of about the title of the famous song: it was not just a spontaneous phrase that Simon managed to come up with. On the menu of a Chinese restaurant, there is a chicken and egg dish called Mother and Child Reunion, which served as inspiration for the song’s title. Yes, the track’s origins are somewhat surreal, but that’s the point.

Mother And Child Reunion

Mother And Child Reunion

Smells Like Teen Spirit

Despite the fact that it has become one of Nirvana’s best known songs, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was actually written as a parody of the band. When Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kills first saw Teen Spirit deodorant at the local supermarket, she thought it had the weirdest name for a deodorant. ” Kurt Smells Like Teen Spirit” was scrawled on the wall later that night after partying with Nirvana, having had the name ingrained in her head since early that morning!

Smells Like Teen Spirit

Smells Like Teen Spirit

Walk This Way

‘Walk This Way’ is one of Aerosmith’s best-known songs, and it appears on the band’s 1975 album Toys in the Attic. The group found it difficult to come up with a title for the song, which was surprising given their previous experience. That is, until they ended up going to see Young Frankenstein, a movie directed by Mel Brooks, and changed their minds about it. Upon seeing the film, the band made a joke regarding Marty Feldman encouraging Gene Wilder to follow him all around haunting castle, limping along and saying, “walk this way.” The joke was based on the film. As they tell, the rest was history.

Walk This Way

Walk This Way

Total Eclipse Of The Heart

The song “Total Eclipse of the Heart” appeared on Bonnie Tyler’s fifth studio album, Faster Than the Speed of Night, which was released in 2008. While it’s clearly evident that it’s a love song, there’s something else about it that many people aren’t aware of: it’s a love song about love. A vampire love ballad, the song was written written by Jim Steinman. During an interview with Playbill, Steinman explained, “…I actually wrote that song to be a vampire love song. It was originally titled ‘Vampires in Love’ because I was working on a musical adaptation of Nosferatu at the time…”.

Total Eclipse Of The Heart

Total Eclipse Of The Heart

This Land Is Your Land

Woody Guthrie’s 1945 song “This Land is Your Land” is frequently referred to as a patriotic hymn sung by school choirs in honor of the United States of America. Sadly, the original piece isn’t — in particular patriotic if the removed verses aren’t added back in. The original song represented the huge social and economic inequalities that existed in the United States at the time, as well as how people were affected by the Great Depression. That was one of Guthrie’s numerous efforts to bring social justice to the frontline of the public debate, and it was a success.

This Land Is Your Land

This Land Is Your Land

I Shot The Sheriff

In 1973, Bob Marley and the Wailers released the single “I Shot the Sheriff.” When the song was first released, many people mistook it for a legitimate song about police. Esther Anderson, Marley’s ex-girlfriend, went, on 2012, to say that the record had been erroneous. According to Anderson, the entire song is about Marley’s objection to her use of birth control, with the word “sheriff” actually translating to “doctor” in the original. Because of this piece of information, the song takes on a new meaning!

I Shot The Sheriff

I Shot The Sheriff

Casey Jones

The Grateful Dead’s song “Casey Jones” has become a crowd favourite since its debut in 1970. They are said to have performed the song more than 300 times during their peak! Amidst this, many people have no understanding that the song is the total opposite of their perceptions. Because it’s gentle, entertaining, and catchy, many people believe it’s about the title character having a great time doing drugs. On the other hand, the lyrics highly advise against it!

Casey Jones

Casey Jones

Hey Jude

The Beatles’ song “Hey Jude,” which had been released in 1968, quickly rose to the top of the charts in a number of countries around the world. Even so, numerous individuals are unaware that Paul McCartney wrote the song particularly for John Lennon’s son, Julian Lennon. The song was written to comfort a young child who had recently experienced his parents’ divorce. “Hey Jules” was the original title of the song. Jude was chosen by McCartney because he thought that sounded nicer.

Hey Jude

Hey Jude

Independence Day

The 1994 hit song “Independence Day” by Martina McBride may have become an absolute classic for Fourth of July blasting, but it was about a different kind of freedom. The song is all about a female who, after years of domestic violence, is eventually able to leave her husband. So, instead of just a country gaining freedom and independence, it is a woman who is able to finally escape a terrible situation.

Independence Day

Independence Day

Bad Reputation

“Bad Reputation” by Joan Jett might seem like just another song for the angsty adolescent. They do, nevertheless, talk about the numerous sex roles and shapes that the music business places women in, and also her complete unwillingness to adjust for them (after being rejected by 23 labels!). As per Historian Kathleen Kennedy, “Joan Jett penned these lyrics as a defiant reply to what she understood as the different codes of conduct applied to male and female rock performers.”

Bad Reputation

Bad Reputation

Rich Girl

Hall & Oates released the single “Rich Girl” throughout 1976 as part of their album Bigger Than Both of Us. The song’s actual title is “Rich Girl,” but the lyrics’ backstory tends to involve a rich man. The song is all about Sara Allen’s ex-boyfriend, a fast-food successor who were once Daryl Hall’s girlfriend. As per Hall, “you can’t write, ‘You’re a rich boy’ in a song, so I changed it to a girl.”

Rich Girl

Rich Girl

Wish You Were Here

Oftentimes, when people hear Pink Floyd’s 1975 song “Wish You Were Here,” they presume the verses are referring to Syd Barrett, one of the band’s founding members. However, while that is an admirable sentiment, that is not the song’s underlying meaning. As per David Gilmour, the lyrics are aimed directly at himself in particular. It is essential to live in the present moment in order to fully appreciate one’s life.

Wish You Were Here

Wish You Were Here

The One I Love

Contrary to popular opinion, no matter how many people decided to devote R.E.M’s 1987 song “The One I Love” to their dear ones, the song is not a love song. While not exactly the polar opposite of the previous song, it depicts emotional distress between individuals and being repetitively taken advantage as a “prop.” According to Michael Stipe, the band’s lead singer, the song is “incredibly violent…,” according to Musician magazine. It’s abundantly clear that it’s all about repurposing people time and time again.

The One I Love

The One I Love

Take Me Home

Phil Collins’ song “Take Me Home” is unquestionably one of his most well-known compositions. The irony is that the majority of people interpret the song’s message incorrectly, choosing to believe it to be about a man coming back home. That, however, is not the case in this instance. The song was inspired by the 1975 psychological thriller One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, which was written by Stephen King. According to the lyrics, the song is about a man who returns home after being a patient in a mental hospital.

Take Me Home

Take Me Home

Let’s Go All The Way

True, the title and lyrics of Sly Fox’s 1985 song “Let’s Go All the Way” actually referred to a romantic relationship. Basically, there’s no mention of romance, nor does it contain any physical descriptions whatsoever! As per songwriter Gary “Mudbone” Cooper, the song is commonly misunderstood and is definitely a song of encouragement, as evidenced by the title line and other lines in the song. According to Cooper, the song’s message is to “go all the way for whatever your goal, dream, or vision is.”

Let's Go All The Way

Let’s Go All The Way

Barracuda

It is incorrectly assumed that “Barracuda” by Heart is about a marine species, but this is not true at all. Lead singer Ann Wilson expresses her displeasure with Mushroom Records in the song’s lyrics, which refer to a publicity stunt involving her and her sister, Nancy. Ann’s rage at a male reporter for bringing up the made-up issue is clearly expressed in the music video. Producer Mike Flicker claims that Barracuda was born conceptually from “a lot of this [record industry] nonsense.” That whole experience inspired the creation of this piece.

Barracuda

Barracuda

The God That Failed

Despite the success of Metallica’s song “The God That Failed,” the heavy metal band’s image took a hit as a result of many fans mistaking the band for worshipping the devil. In reality, this is not the case. According to the band, the song is about religion and how people have become overly reliant on it, particularly when it comes to healing. When James Hetfield’s mother refused to seek treatment for her cancer, trying to claim that God would heal her, the lyrics for the song were inspired.

The God That Failed

The God That Failed

Macho Man

It’s no surprise that the Village People aren’t well-known for their serious music, especially when considering that their most well-known song is none other than “YMCA.” That’s not to say that one of their music wasn’t written with a serious tone in mind; in fact, one of their songs was. The song “Macho Man” was written in order to depict traditional male characters in American culture and history. Randy Jones, on the other hand, claimed that it was not working out. In the end, they managed to make it a little less serious and somewhat more entertaining.

Macho Man

Macho Man

Le Freak

It was released in 1978 and is a disco and funk song by Chic. “Le Freak” was written by Chic and was released in 1978. Since it is a popular party song, most people don’t pay attention to it for its deeper meaning, but rather for its entertaining qualities. To say that the music isn’t meaningful is an understatement. In reality, the song is about Chic’s bassist as well as guitarist being turned down for admission to New York’s legendary Studio 54 nightclub. It appears that the bouncer told them to “f off” since their names weren’t on the guest list. That incident served as the motivation for the expression “freak out!”

Le Freak

Le Freak

Smoke On The Water

The memorable guitar riff was created following the launch of a rocket inside a casino during a Frank Zappa concert. A fire broke out fairly soon after, totally ruining the casino’s structure. After witnessing smoke billowing across Lake Geneva, Roger Glover happened to come up with the title “Smoke on the Water.”

Smoke On The Water

Smoke On The Water

The Way

In a tragic turn of events, the song “The Way” was influenced by a news story about an old couple who mysteriously disappeared while attending a Texas music festival. When the band was in the studio recording the single, they received word from the press that the couple had been discovered dead in their Oldsmobile at the bottom of a gorge, where they had been driving.

The Way

The Way

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