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"Imagine" - John Lennon
When the American colleagues from ROLLING STONE named the ubiquitous and timeless hit of the former Beatle the third greatest song of all time, Lennon's distinctive text became "22 lines of graceful, straightforward belief in the power of a world united with the intention of repairing and changing itself" described. But behind the soft foreground of the song that Jimmy Carter once said was"Was used almost equally with national anthems", stuck some thoughts that were inspired by communism.
Lennon named the song"Practically the communist manifesto", and when the song became a hit it went on:“Because it's covered with icing, it's accepted. Now I understand what has to be done - get your message across with a little honey. "
"Total Eclipse Of The Heart" - Bonnie Tyler
"Total Eclipse of the Heart" is one of the kind of big, bombastic power ballad that could only flow from the pen of the frequent Meat Loaf collaborator Jim Steinman; he named the number one in an interview with People magazine "Wagnerian onslaught of sound and emotion".
The Wagnerian attribute certainly did not appear for the first time in a pop context. Phil Spector also used the same term decades earlier to describe his Wall Of Sound as "Small symphonies for young people" and one"Wagnerian approach to rock’ n ‘roll" to call. Irrespective of Wagner's pronounced anti-Semitism (in 1850 he first published his essay “Das Judenthum in der Musik”), Steinman also drew the comparison in order to accentuate the bombast of his song.
When Steinman included the song in his Broadway musical "Dance Of The Vampires" - a flop that lost $ 12 million in 2002 - he commented on the song and said: “With“ Total Eclipse Of The Heart ”I was trying to create a love song, and I remember actually writing it as a vampire love song. Its original title was "Vampires in Love" because I was working on a musical for Nosferatu, the other great vampire story. If anyone listens to the lyrics, they are actually lines about vampires. It's about the darkness, the power of darkness and the place of love in the dark. "
"Just Like Heaven" - The Cure
Entertainment Weekly put The Cures Hit at number 25 on the greatest love song of all time. Robert Smith was also satisfied with the song and referred to it as"The best pop song that The Cure have ever written". At the same time, the editors asked which trick the song is actually talking about. It turned out that the lyrics only refer to a sudden shortness of breath - actually not very romantic for a love song.
Smith's explanation of the cryptically esoteric lyrics is even more weird than the text itself. In an interview with Blender magazine in 2003, he said that “Just Like Heaven” was about a trip to Beachy Head in the south of England, more precisely from there"Hyperventilate - kiss and fall on the floor".
Smith's explanation of the song's opening lines ("Show me, show me, show me, show me, show me how you do that trick") is also not obvious. According to the singer, the lines are in equal parts an indication of his affinity for performing magic tricks in his youth and on"A trick of seduction, from my life much later."
"Like A Virgin" - Madonna
It turned out that both Mr. Brown (who thinks "Like a Virgin" is a metaphor for large male sex organs) and Mr. Blonde ("It's about a very vulnerable girl") both misinterpreted Madonna's hit in the opening scene of Quentin Tarantino's “Reservoir Dogs”. Even if Madonna ended the fictional debate in an eye-catching way by signing a CD for Quentin Tarantino - "Quentin, it's about love, not about cocks" -, “Like a Virgin” is only autobiographical for the songwriter Billy Steinberg.
The text Steinberg wrote for “Like a Virgin” was not originally intended for a female artist and deals with his own relationship problems. He explained at length to the Los Angeles Times: "I have said…. that maybe I'm not really a virgin - I've been romantically and emotionally wounded like many people - but when I start a new relationship it just feels so good, it heals all wounds and makes me feel like I've never done this before I've done before because it's so much deeper than anything I've ever felt. "
"Closing Time" - Semisonic
Semisonic frontman Dan Wilson commented on the story of his band's only major success in 1999 to the American newspaper The Hollywood Reporter: "I really thought that the greatest fate for" Closing Time "was that it would be played by all bartenders". Obviously, this use of the song didn't seem to bother him at all, after all, it would collect one or two dollars in royalties.
As Wilson, however, lines like"Time for you to go out to the places you will be from" wrote, the focus of the song was on the miracle of the birth of a child rather than an ode to kicking stubborn bar-goers out into the street later (or earlier). His wife was expecting their first child together. No wonder then that Dan Wilson dealt with the subject.
"Harder To Breathe" - Maroon 5
At first glance, the single from Maroon 5's debut album, "Songs About Jane", seems to be just another song about Jane, the friend with whom singer Adam Levine was involved. But while the album's lead single sounds like a pointer toward past love, “Harder to Breathe” came from another kind of suffocating relationship. The song serves as a bitter indictment of pressure from the music industry.
Levine said in a 2002 interview with MTV: “This song comes from the desire to throw something. It was close to close and the label wanted more songs. I was just pissed off. I wanted to make a record and the label put a lot of pressure on, but I'm glad they did. "
"Summer Of '69" - Bryan Adams
Bryan Adams, who was born in the fall of 1959, would logically have been only 9 years old in the summer of 1969. The song with the name of that period, which became the greatest of his hits, is not, however, a reminiscence of those past days, which Adams indulges in nostalgia for. Rather, the 69 is to be understood as a reference to the sexual practice of the same name. In 2008, Adams told CBS News, “That a lot of people think it's about the year, but it's actually more about making love in summer. It uses 69 as a sexual reference. "
However, parts of the song are still steeped in traces of the truth. Bryan Adams stated that he found his second electric guitar at a pawn shop and that his fingers were actually bleeding while playing"Completely absorbed in practicing" was. Other passages are again undeniably untrue; Adams ‘first band, Shock, was formed when the singer was 16 years old. For the song's co-writer, Jim Vallance, the song is a wistful journey back in time, despite everything.
"The One I Love" - R.E.M.
As R.E.M. played their first Top 10 single during a concert, R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck was clearly stunned by the audience's romantic reactions. Buck said:“I looked into the audience and there couples were kissing. But the stanza is…. totally against love…. People told me this was "their song". Is that your song? "
Singer Michael Stipe repeated Buck’s impressions in a 1992 interview with Q-Magazine and admitted that he had almost never recorded the song in the first place. He also called him"too brutal" and"Really violent and terrible". After five years in which„The One I Love“ When the dedication sounded over the radio waves to countless loved ones, Stipe took a sympathetic attitude towards the misunderstood fate of his song:"At this point, it's probably better that you think it's a love song."
"Semi-Charmed Life" - Third Eye Blind
Radio listeners in the 1990s misunderstood the fact that the lyrics of the lively third-eye-blind anthem were about a couple on a crystal meth trip. The two words on the line"Doing crystal meth will lift you up until you break"that caused the censorship were simply played backwards in an edited version for the radio stations and thus made unrecognizable.
Why make a song on such a serious subject so light and vivid? Singer Stephen Jenkins explained that the musical and lyrical connection in this way was exactly what was wanted: the music reflects"Reflects the bright, shiny feeling that you get up to speed"he told Billboard.
"American Girl" - Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers
Sorry, dear Urban Myths enthusiasts. Tom Petty's 1977 song was not inspired by a girl who went to the University of Florida and committed suicide by jumping off a balcony at the Beaty Towers. Although the second verse of the song mentions a girl who both stands alone on her balcony and hears the cars go by on 441 (a freeway that runs near campus), Petty has cleared up the misunderstanding on numerous occasions.
In the book„Conversations With Tom Petty“ the singer is quoted as saying:“It has become a huge urban myth down in Florida. That is simply not true. The song has nothing to do with it. But this story goes down really well. " The Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell agreed with Petty, explaining that some interpretations of the song have taken the lyrics at face value:“Some people take it literally and have taken it out of context. For me it's just a really nice love song. "
"In The Air Tonight" - Phil Collins
Another legend: Phil Collins' first solo single was not written about a man who refused to save a drowning swimmer. And according to Collins himself, he definitely didn't invite this man, who doesn't exist at all, to one of his concerts to be verbally abused in the front row during “In the Air Tonight”.
Instead, the song is simply a tense, introspective expression on Collins' divorce from his first wife. Collins swears by the story that he wrote the lyrics in no time during a studio session and laughs at the rumors surrounding the origins of "In the Air Tonight". He admitted to the BBC that he doesn't even know what the song is about: "What made the story even funnier, which came up many years ago, especially in America, is that someone came up to me and said," Did you really see someone drown? "I said," No, no, wrong. " This is a song that I really don't know what it's about ... "
"Blackbird" - The Beatles
Paul McCartney told the US radio station KCRW:“It's not really about a blackbird that has broken wings, you know. It's a little more symbolic. "Macca wrote the song on his farm in Scotland, inspired by the American civil rights movement.
In a 2008 interview with Mojo, McCartney explained how excited the Beatles were when the civil rights movement held its own across the Atlantic. “I came up with the idea of using a blackbird as a symbol for a black person. It wasn't exactly a black "bird", but it works the way you called the girls "bird" back then ... it wasn't exactly an ornithology ditty; it was purely symbolic. "
"Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)" - Green Day
A perennial top runner on the list of the best prom songs in the United States, Green Day's acoustic ballad was originally far from a romantic affair. Brooding frontman Billie Joe Armstrong wrote the song about an ex-girlfriend who moved to Ecuador and titled the song "Good Riddance" in his frustration at the breakup.
Not that the misinterpretation of the ballad as a slow dance number at school graduation balls would not appeal to Armstrong. He reported to the TV station VH1 in the series "Behind The Music": “I kind of enjoy being misunderstood most of the time. That's fine."
"Born In The USA" - Bruce Springsteen
No list of misunderstood songs is complete without “Born in the USA”. Music critic Greil Marcus believes using the Boss ‘hit as a hurray event will fuel his legacy: "The key to Bruce’s popularity is clearly a misunderstanding. It pays homage to the fact that people hear what they want to hear. "
The Songfacts page emphasizes: “Most people thought it was a patriotic song about American pride. In fact, it cast a shameful eye on the way America treated its Vietnam veterans…. with the exuberant rhythm, enthusiastic chorus and patriotic album cover, it's easy to believe that this has more to do with American pride than shame about Vietnam. "
“Born in the USA” is the opposite of the dream-chasing American optimism that the audience interprets the song as; the song captures the desperate feelings of a worker in the US after Vietnam. Springsteen stated that the protagonist of the song "Is isolated from the government, isolated from his family, to the point where nothing makes sense."
"American Pie" - Don McLean
The iconic and undeniably catchy “American Pie” regularly inspires groups inevitably to sing along around campfires and in karaoke bars, but lyrically the original eight-minute song is quite depressing. The first thing people remember is the rhyme in the song's chorus saying goodbye to Miss American Pie. You tend to forget that the song was about the 1959 plane crash, the Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. Richardson killed, referred to as "the day the music died".
According to The Guardian, McLean said in an early interview that the text is intentionally ambiguous:“People ask me if I left the text open to ambiguity. Of course I have. I wanted to make a number of complex statements. The text had to do with the state of society at the time. "
"I Will Always Love You" - Dolly Parton
The 1973 song (covered by Whitney Houston in 1992) was inspired by Parton's decision to stop working with her mentor, Porter Wagoner.
“I was with Porter for seven years and I learned so many things from Porter. We had one of those relationships that we were just so incredibly passionate about; it was like fire and ice. We got into each other all the time, but we made love. There was a great passion there. And I wanted to leave the show. I told Porter that I would be on the show for five years. I wanted to go on alone "Parton told The Tennessean in 2015.
Parton added that she wanted Wagoner to understand how much she valued him. She wrote "I Will Always Love You" to let him know.
"Every Breath You Take" - The Police
"Every Breath You Take" is one of the most popular songs of the 1980s, a huge hit for The Police and to this day a regularly misinterpreted song. Contrary to the assumption that it is a romantic love song, it is actually about control madness and jealousy. So to a certain extent it is a love song, but far from having a positive connotation.
Sting was in the final stages of his marriage to Frances Tomelty when he wrote "Every Breath You Take". So it's not just any song, it's highly personal for Sting. Probably the secret of success lies here - the emotions are real, even if they lead many people in a misleading direction at first.
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