The Actual Meaning Behind Some of The World’s Most Famous Songs

The Actual Meaning Behind Some of The World’s Most Famous Songs BLOG Saturday 9th July 2022


The Actual Meaning Behind Some of The World’s Most Famous Songs

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.

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!

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…”.

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.

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!

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!

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.

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.

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.”

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.”

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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!”

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.”

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.


Lennon’s hallmark lyrics in “Imagine’ were described as “22 lines of graceful, plain-spoken faith in the power of a world, united in purpose, to repair and change itself.” However, the feel-good sentiments behind the song Jimmy Carter once said was “used almost equally with national anthems” have some serious Communist underpinnings. Lennon once referred to the song as “virtually the Communist manifesto,” and at the time that the song became a hit, went on record saying, “Because it’s sugarcoated it’s accepted. Now I understand what you have to do—put your message across with a little honey.”

Like A Virgin

In the opening scene in Reservoir Dogs, both Mr. Brown (who thinks “Like a Virgin” is “a metaphor for large d**ks”) and Mr. Blonde (“It’s about a female who is very vulnerable”) misread Madonna’s smash hit. Despite the fact that Madonna famously settled the imaginary dispute by autographing a CD for Quentin Tarantino: “Quentin, it’s about love, not d**k” , the controversy continues.

Summer of ’69

Bryan Adams, who was born in the winter of 1959, would have been 10 years old during the eponymous summer of one of his most well-known songs, which was published in 1985. However, “Summer of ’69” is more of a reference to the sexual position of the same name than it is to Adams waxing nostalgic about the dog days of 1969. In a 2008 interview, Adams told CBS News that “a lot of people think it’s about the year, but actually it’s more about making love in the summertime. It’s using ’69 as a sexual reference.”

American Girl

Sorry, urban legend devotees. Tom Petty’s 1977 classic was not inspired by the suicide of a University of Florida student. Despite the fact that the song’s second line mentions a girl standing “alone on her balcony” and “could hear the cars roll by out on 441” (a highway that runs near the Gainesville campus), Petty repeatedly dismissed the misunderstanding more than once.

In The Air Tonight

Phil Collins’ debut solo hit wasn’t written about the singer’s run-in with a man who refused point-blank to assist a drowning swimmer in Round Two of Song Meanings Being Twisted By Urban Legends. And, according to Collins, the individual was not invited to sit in the front row of the concert and be verbally abused by “In the Air Tonight.” Alternatively, the song is really a tense, introspective insight into Collins’ divorce from his first wife.

London Calling

One of The Clash’s most stinging political statements is, at its core, a song about Joe Strummer’s own fear of drowning rather than a song about the state of British politics. Mick Jones cited the band’s concern about a 1979 London Evening Standard headline about the Thames River overflowing and drowning London in a dissection of “London Calling” published by the Wall Street Journal. What was the reaction of The Clash to the news? “We flipped,” according to Jones.


Whilst on radio with Santa Monica radio station KCRW, Paul McCartney revealed how [Blackbird] “It’s not really about a blackbird whose wings are broken, you know, it’s a bit more symbolic.” In a 2008 interview with Mojo, McCartney explained how enamored The Beatles were with the Civil Rights Movement taking place on the other side of the Atlantic. “I got the idea of using a blackbird as a symbol for a Black person. It wasn’t necessarily a black ‘bird,’ but it works that way, as much as then you called girls ‘birds’… it wasn’t exactly an ornithology ditty; it was purely symbolic.”



The Top & Only 17 fictional characters with stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

  1. Mickey Mouse Date added: November 13, 1978
  2. Rugrats Date added: June 28, 2001
  3. Snoopy Date added: November 2, 2015
  4. Minnie Mouse Date added: January 22, 2018
  5. Bugs Bunny Date added: December 10, 1985
  6. Snow White Date added: June 28, 1987
  7. Woody Woodpecker Date added: September 13, 1990
  8. Big Bird (Sesame Street) Date added: April 21, 1994
  9. The Simpsons Date added: January 14, 2000
  10. Kermit the Frog Date added: November 14, 2002
  11. Godzilla Date added: November 29, 2004
  12. Donald Duck Date added: August 9, 2004
  13. Winnie the Pooh Date added: April 11, 2006
  14. The Munchkins (Wizard of Oz)     Date added: November 20, 2007
  15. Shrek Date added: May 20, 2010
  16. Tinker Bell (from Peter Pan) Date: September 21, 2010
  17. The Muppets Date added: March 20, 2012

REMEMBER: The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.

– Nicolas Chamfort



“You’ve got to get up every morning with determination if you’re going to go to bed with satisfaction.” ―George Lorimer.


Happiness is…knowing the real meaning of the lyrics of your favourite song.


Want to hear a pizza joke? Nahhh, it’s too cheesy!


Love is…to have and to hold.


Pay off debts rather than spending money on luxury items


A time to understand what “Hey Jude” by The Beatles is all about…A time to understand fully the inspiration of Paul Simon’s Mother And Child Reunion lyrics.





©2022 Phil M Robinson