8 Songs and What they ACTUALLY Mean

8 Songs and What they ACTUALLY Mean

1. The song, “I Shot the Sheriff” written and performed by Bob Marley actually was not about a sheriff at all. Instead, Marley wrote the lyrics about his girlfriend’s doctor (the sheriff) and the anger he felt when his girlfriend at the time was trying to go on birth control. Now it makes so much more sense, every time Marley “plants a seed”, the pill “kills it before it grow.

“Sheriff John Brown always hated me,
For what, I don’t know,
Every time I plant a seed,
He said kill it before it grow,
He said kill them before they grow.”







2. “Smoke on the Water” by Deep Purple actually originated when the band had set up camp in Montreux, Switzerland using a mobile recording studio (referred to as the “Rolling truck Stones thing”) to record. One evening, during a Mothers of Invention concert, a fan fired a flare gun into the ceiling and the entire place caught fire. The title comes from the smoke spreading over the lake as Deep Purple watched from their hotel room. The song tells a real story…spooky.

“We all came out to Montreux
On the Lake Geneva shoreline
To make records with a mobile
We didn’t have much time
Frank Zappa and the Mothers
Were at the best place around
But some stupid with a flare gun
Burned the place to the ground
Smoke on the water, fire in the sky”






3. “Old Pine” by Ben Howard tells the story of his time in the South of France with friends when he was 16. A poignant moment of that summer came when a big thunderstorm caused trees and shrubbery to fall. The boys were persuaded to move their tents out from under an “old pine” that looked ready to topple down. Howard recounts that he “cheated death” as he and his friends watch that old pine finally fall days later.


“Hot sand on toes, cold sand in sleeping bags,

I’ve come to know the friends around you

Are all you’ll always have

Smoke in my lungs, or the echoed stone

Careless and young, free as the birds that fly

With weightless souls now. “






4. Billy Joel gained many song ideas from his dreams, but would often struggle to remember them once he opened his eyes. However, when it came to “The River of Dreams” he almost tried to force himself to forget. He later explained on The Howard Stern Show in 2010: ‘I thought, Who the hell am I to try to pull off this gospel song, so I took a shower to wash this song away. I sang it in the shower and knew I had to do it.’It’s the story about a dream of his where he is quite literally “walking in his sleep”.


“In the middle of the night
I go walking in my sleep
Through the valley of fear
To a river so deep

And I’ve been searching for something
Taken out of my soul
Something I would never lose
Something somebody stole”








5. Imogen Heap has been reluctant to say exactly what inspired “Hide and Seek”, but she has let some information slip. From what we’ve gathered, most information indicates that the song is about her parent’s separation and her father finding someone new. “Crop Circles in the carpet”; the furniture has been moved out and all that is left are crop circle imprints. “Oily marks appear on walls where pleasure moments hung before”; photos have been taken down. Listen and hear for yourself. Can you find anymore hints?

“Where are we?
What the hell is going on?
The dust has only just begun to form
Crop circles in the carpet
Sinking, feeling”








6. Hey Ya” by Outkast may sound fun and upbeat, but the meaning behind is much different. The song moves at 160 beats per minute– the speed at which a human heart beats when you work out hard. Outkast uses this on purpose, as a metaphor as the song talks about the trials and tribulations of a relationship. The first verse questions if the girl will want to stay, but rationalizes her loyalty. In the second verse, he, himself begins to question his own desires, and goes so far as to say, ““If they say nothing is forever…then what makes love the exception?


But can’t stand to see me
Walk out the dooor..
Don’t try to fight the feelin’
Because the thought alone is killing me right nooww..
Uh, thank god for mom and dad
For sticking two together
‘Cause we don’t know hooowww…





7. “Mrs. Robinson” by Simon and Garfunkel was not written fro the movie The Graduate as many people believe. Instead, it’s an extension of the film. Throughout the movie, we are reminded of the mess the older generation has made of the world, from the artificiality of their vision to the emptiness of their marriages, and Mrs. Robinson epitomizes it all. She is a drunk and tired, feels nothing, but has everything. Her biggest secret is her daughter, Elaine, who she conceived out of wedlock. The Mrs. Robinson of song spent some time in an asylum or rehab, and has a big secret that is never completely revealed. Could it be her daughter, birth-control pills, or and alcohol problem? It’s up to you.

“And you’ll get yours, Mrs. Robinson
Foolin’ with that young stuff like you do
Boo, hoo, hoo; woo, woo, woo

So how’s your bird, Mrs. Robinson
“Dandy”, Mrs. Robinson you’d say
Hey, hey, hey”






8. “Can’t Get No Satisfaction”by The Rolling Stones was inspired by a concert on May 6, 1965. The Rolling Stones played for around 3,000 people at Jack Russell Stadium in Clearwater, Florida while on their first US tour. According to an article in the St. Petersburg Times, about 200 young fans got in an altercation with a line of police officers at the show. That night, Keith Richards had a dream, and awoke with the lyric “can’t get no satisfaction” continuously replaying in his mind. He recorded it on a portable tape deck, went back to sleep, and brought it to the studio that week. The tape contained his guitar riff followed by the sounds of him snoring.


“I can’t get no satisfaction
I can’t get no satisfaction
‘Cause I try and I try and I try and I try
I can’t get no, I can’t get no

When I’m drivin’ in my car
And the man comes on the radio
He’s tellin’ me more and more
About some useless information
Supposed to drive my imagination”


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