I've Heard that Song Before

There are lots of songs around, which you have probably heard and perhaps wondered what they were about, or what was the story behind them. Here are just a few, which have quite an interesting back story.

Poker Face (Lady Gaga)

I was personally very surprised to find out that "Poker Face", by the pop singer Lady Gaga is about something I didn't even imagine. One obvious theme is gambling, but also according to Gaga herself, the song  is about her experiences with bisexuality, about being with a man but, fantasizing about being with a women. The man needs to read her "Poker Face" in order to decipher her thoughts however. 

I am the Walrus (The Beetles)

The song, 'I Am the Walrus',  is an amalgamation of at least three different song ideas that John Lennon was working on at the time. The first inspiration for the song was a police siren John heard, while at home in Weybridge, the second was a pastoral melody and the third was tune about sitting on a corn flake.

Let Him Dangle (Elvis Costello)

Is a song of protest opposing capital punishment. The song recounts the conviction and execution of Derek Bentley, who was hanged in 1953 for a murder that his friend committed, while they were robbing a warehouse. It seems that Bentley also had mental health problems as well.

Sweet Home Alabama (Lynyrd Skynyrd)

This 1974 song was written in response to,  "Southern Man" and "Alabama" by Neil Young, which dealt with the themes of racism and slavery in  America's South. Band member Ronnie Van Zant said at the time, "We thought Neil was shooting all the ducks in order to kill one or two,". The song also controversially contained references to the Alabama Governor George Wallace, who supported segregation and also the Watergate scandal.

Stan (Eminem)

 Inspired by the death of Eminem's uncle Ronnie, who committed suicide in 1992, this song is about an obsessed Slim Shady fan (Eminem's alter ego).

Ma Baker (Boney M)

The song was inspired by the legendary outlaw of the 1930s, Ma Barker. Kate "Ma" Barker, was the mother of several members of the, Barker-Karpis Gang, who committed murders, robberies and kidnappings. Their mother who knew all about their nefarious activities, went out of her way to protect them from the law. 


Boney M. Ma Baker ( 1977 )

Lola (The Kinks)

In the book The Kinks: The Official Biography, band member Ray Davies claimed that he wrote the song, after band manager Robert Wace spent the night dancing with what he thought was a women, but towards morning realised was a transvestite, because of the beard stubble.

Bron Yr Aur Stomp (Led Zeppelin)

Jimmy Page and Robert Plant wrote this song in 1970, when staying in a small cottage in Wales, called, Bron Yr Aur. They had just completed an exhausting concert tour of North America.

Just One of Those Things (Cole Porter)

This song by the matchless Cole Porter, is about Abelard and Heloise. Heloise a French nun, scholar, and abbess is known for her love affair and correspondence with Peter Abélard a medieval  philosopher and theologian.

Hold Back the Rain (Duran Duran)

According to an interview given by band member Simon le Bon, he wrote the song as an emotional response to his fellow band member John's increasing partying and drug issues. Simon was worried about his friend, wrote the song and slipped it under his door.

Hurricane- (Bob Dylan)

This protest song written by Bob Dylan & Jacques Levy, was written about boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, who was falsely arrested and convicted due to racial profiling. Carter’s conviction was later overturned.

Tears in Heaven (Eric Clapton)

In 1991, Conor Clapton, Eric Clapton's son, fell from the 53rd-story window of the New York apartment where he was living with his mother, Italian actress Lori Del Santo. The window had been opened by a cleaner. Eric Clapton at the time was still married to George Harrison’s ex-wife Patti Boyd.

Someone Like You (Adele)

The song is about the break-up of Adele's 18 month relationship with a 30-year old man, who she thought she would marry. A few months after their split, he became engaged to someone else.


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Adele - Someone Like You