Stories Behind The Songs.

Reply Sun 9 Feb, 2014 01:58 pm
I'm not sure if this has been done before, but this was inspired by someone pointing out the story behind a song the other day, a song that I have hummed, whistled and tried to sing in the shower for years, but never stopped to think about what it was all about. I may use it later, if nobody else does, but it should really be presented by an American, as they would probably know the finer points of the back story.

Anyway, here's one to start. Please feel free to educate us about other songs out there that may have an interesting story lurking in the background.

I was going to write this up myself, having driven past the place on many occasions and being a great fan (in my late teens) of the band in question, but when I went to check the facts on Wiki, it was so well documented that laziness took over and I did a bit of copy pasting....

The Back Story......(courtesy of Wiki)

"The lyrics of the song tell a true story: on 4 December 1971 Deep Purple had set up camp in Montreux, Switzerland to record an album using a mobile recording studio (rented from the Rolling Stones and known as the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio—referred to as the "Rolling truck Stones thing" and "the mobile" in the song lyrics) at the entertainment complex that was part of the Montreux Casino (referred to as "the gambling house" in the song lyric). On the eve of the recording session a Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention concert was held in the casino's theatre. In the middle of Don Preston's synthesizer solo on "King Kong", the place suddenly caught fire when somebody in the audience fired a flare gun into the rattan covered ceiling, as mentioned in the "some stupid with a flare gun" line.[9][10] The resulting fire destroyed the entire casino complex, along with all the Mothers' equipment. The "smoke on the water" that became the title of the song (credited to bass guitarist Roger Glover, who related how the title occurred to him when he suddenly woke from a dream a few days later) referred to the smoke from the fire spreading over Lake Geneva from the burning casino as the members of Deep Purple watched the fire from their hotel. The "Funky Claude" running in and out is referring to Claude Nobs, the director of the Montreux Jazz Festival who helped some of the audience escape the fire.

Left with an expensive mobile recording unit and no place to record, the band was forced to scout the town for another place to set up. One promising venue (found by Nobs) was a local theatre called The Pavilion, but soon after the band had loaded in and started working/recording, the nearby neighbours took offence at the noise, and the band was only able to lay down backing tracks for one song (based on Blackmore's riff and temporarily named Title n°1), before the local police shut them down.

Finally, after about a week of searching, the band rented the nearly-empty Montreux Grand Hotel and converted its hallways and stairwells into a makeshift recording studio, where they laid down most of the tracks for what would become their most commercially successful album, Machine Head.

The only song from Machine Head not recorded entirely in the Grand Hotel was "Smoke on the Water" itself, which had been partly recorded during the abortive Pavilion session. The lyrics of "Smoke on the Water" were composed later, and the vocals were recorded in the Grand Hotel.

The song is honoured in Montreux by a sculpture along the lake shore (right next to the statue of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury) with the band's name, the song title, and the riff in musical notes.

On the Classic Albums series episode about Machine Head, Ritchie Blackmore claimed that friends of the band were not fans of the classic "Smoke on the Water" riff, because they thought it was too simplistic. Blackmore retaliated by making comparisons to the first movement of Beethoven's 5th Symphony, which revolves around a similar four note arrangement—and is arguably the most famous piece of music in the world......."



THE SONG......

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Reply Sun 9 Feb, 2014 02:29 pm
Excellent idea for a thread!

Layla, by Eric Clapton.

Per Wikipedia -

In 1966 George Harrison married Pattie Boyd, a model he met during the filming of A Hard Day's Night. During the late 1960s, Clapton and Harrison became close friends. Clapton contributed uncredited guitar work on Harrison's song "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" on The Beatles' White Album, and Harrison co-wrote and played guitar pseudonymously (as L'Angelo Misterioso) on Cream's "Badge" from Goodbye. However, trouble was brewing for Clapton. Between his tenures in Cream and Blind Faith, he fell in love with Boyd.

The title, "Layla", was inspired by the story of Layla and Majnun, by the 12th-century Persian poet Nizami Ganjavi. When he wrote "Layla", Clapton had been told the story by his friend Ian Dallas, who was in the process of converting to Islam. Nizami's tale, about a moon princess who was married off by her father to someone other than the one who was desperately in love with her, resulting in Majnun's madness, struck a deep chord with Clapton.

Boyd divorced Harrison in 1977 and married Clapton in 1979 during a concert stop in Tucson, Arizona. Harrison was not bitter about the divorce and attended Clapton's wedding party with Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney. During their relationship, Clapton wrote another love ballad for Pattie called "Wonderful Tonight" (1977). Clapton and Boyd divorced in 1988 after several years of separation.

Code:What do you do when you get lonely?
And nobody's waiting by your side?
You been running and hiding much too long.
You know it's just your foolish pride.


Layla, you've got me on my knees.
Layla, I'm begging, darling please.
Layla, darling won't you ease my worried mind.

I tried to give you consolation
When your old man had let you down.
Like a fool, I fell in love with you,
Turned my whole world upside down.


Make the best of the situation
Before I finally go insane.
Please don't say we'll never find a way
And tell me all my love's in vain.

[Chorus: x2]
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Reply Sun 9 Feb, 2014 02:49 pm
One that is rather obvious (or seems to be) is "American Pie" by Don McLean. He has never been willing to discuss the inspiration for the song, although he did once say that he was folding newspapers for his paper route when he heard about the plane crash which claimed the lives of Buddy Holly, J. P. Richardson ("the Big Bopper") and Ritchie Valens. The rest is all just speculation.

Reply Sun 9 Feb, 2014 03:00 pm
The rest is all just speculation.

Yes...so true
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Reply Mon 10 Feb, 2014 03:35 am
This song, which came to my attention watching the BBC drama Peaky Blinders, is the subject of heated debate as to what the meaning actually is. The only thing everyone agrees on is that the phrase red right hand comes from Paradise Lost, and is a reference to God's wrath.

Take a little walk to the edge of town
Go across the tracks where the viaduct looms
Like a bird of doom as it shifts and cracks
Where secrets lie in the border fires, in the humming wires
Hey man, you know you're never coming back
Past the square, past the bridge, past the mills, past the stacks
On a gathering storm, comes a tall handsome man
In a dusty black coat with a red right hand

He'll wrap you in his arms
Tell you that you've been a good boy
He'll rekindle all the dreams it took you a lifetime to destroy
He'll reach deep into the hole heal your shrinking soul
Hey buddy, you know you're never ever coming back
He's a god, he's a man, he's a ghost, he's a guru
They're whispering his name through this disappearing land
But hidden in his coat is a red right hand

You don't own no money? He'll get you some
You don't have no car? He'll get you one
You don't have no self-respect
You feel like an insect
Well don't you worry buddy 'cause here he comes
Through the ghettos and the barrio and the bowery and the slum
A shadow is cast wherever he stands
Stacks of green paper in his red right hand

You'll see him in your nightmares
You'll see him in your dreams
He'll appear out of nowhere but he ain't what he seems
You'll see him in your head, on a TV screen
And hey buddy, I'm warning you to turn it off
He's a ghost, he's a god, he's a man, he's a guru
You're one microscopic cog in his catastrophic plan
Designed and directed by his red right hand
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Reply Mon 10 Feb, 2014 10:12 am
Ooh, nice to see a response or three!

I watched a docu about George Harrison and the Eric Patti triangle jespah. Very reminiscent of the times....all Ravi Shankar and waccy baccy. George seemed very cool about the whole thing. Never realised that Layla was about all that though. Interesting.

Set, I knew every word to that song when I was at school, and it was my sister (ten years older than me) who explained that it was about Buddy Holly. That's when I got to really appreciate her record collection. That song of yours resulted in me being turned on to all that "old stuff".
What else did she have.......Poetry in Motion, Tell Laura I Love Her, Leader of the Pack, Runaway.....I'll have to ask her for a complete list....she packed them all up with her little 'dancette' record player and shipped them off to Australia when she emigrated all those years ago.

Izzy....I never saw Peaky, and by all accounts have missed out on a good series. I shall now try to watch it.
Reply Mon 10 Feb, 2014 10:19 am
I taped it when it was on and only got round to watching it a few weeks back.
0 Replies
Reply Mon 10 Feb, 2014 10:21 am
If you're a Brit, you'll probably be aware of 'Rickrolling'.

Anyway, here's what it was all about.


From Wiki................"Never Gonna Give You Up" is a 1987 song performed by British singer Rick Astley.[3] It was written and produced by Stock, Aitken & Waterman. The song was released as the first single from Astley's multi-million selling debut album, Whenever You Need Somebody. The song was a worldwide number-one hit, initially in the singer's native United Kingdom in 1987, where it stayed at number 1 for 5 weeks and was the best-selling single of that year. It eventually topped the charts in 25 countries, including the US and West Germany.[4]

The song won Best British Single at the 1988 Brit Awards. The music video for the song has become the basis for the "Rickrolling" Internet meme.

In 2004, it was voted #28 in 50 Most Awesomely Bad Songs ... Ever by VH1. In 2008, Rick Astley won the MTV EMA awards for "Best Act Ever" with the song "Never Gonna Give You Up", as a result of collective voting from thousands of people on the internet, due to the popular phenomenon of Rickrolling.

Main article: Rickrolling
"Never Gonna Give You Up" is the subject of a popular Internet prank known as "rickrolling" involving misleading links (commonly shortened URLs) redirecting to the song's music video.[6] By May 2007, the practice had achieved notoriety on the Internet, and it increased in popularity after its use as a 2008 April Fool's Day joke by various media companies and websites, including YouTube rickrolling all of its featured videos on that day and a website allowing people to rickroll their friends' phones.[7]

In "a couple of weeks", about 13 million people had been rickrolled into watching Astley's video, the BBC reported on 1 April 2008. "I think it's just one of those odd things where something gets picked up and people run with it," Astley told the Los Angeles Times in late March 2008, adding: "That's what's brilliant about the Internet."[8][9]

Astley also appeared in the 2008 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade interrupting a song performed by those on a float promoting the Cartoon Network program Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends with a lipsynched performance of "Never Gonna Give You Up".

In several of its protests against the Church of Scientology, Anonymous has employed the rickroll.[10]

Starting in early 2010, Oregon House member Jefferson Smith started setting up an elaborate joke to rick roll the Oregon legislature. He got some other Oregon House members to sneak a few words into speeches they said in a special session in February 2010. The phrases were then edited into a short video that had the phrases put together to make the song. The video was put on YouTube on April Fools' Day 2011.

With the release of Apple's iOS 7 in late 2013, users reported a rickroll in which Siri displayed the "Never Gonna Give You Up" Wikipedia page after being asked, "What is today going to be like?"[11]

Despite the video garnering millions of hits on YouTube, Astley has earned almost no money from the meme, receiving only US$12 in royalties from YouTube for his performance share, as of August 2010.[12]........"

So folks, here is the "best act ever" (snort).....

74, 321, 686 views!

Reply Mon 10 Feb, 2014 10:25 am
Oh, you don't need to be a Brit to know about Rickrolling.

Astley has been a remarkably good sport about the whole thing. A lot of singers would probably be appalled. I think he loves that he's still got some relevance.
Reply Mon 10 Feb, 2014 10:45 am
Taxman is one of my favorite Beatles songs, and it has a very transparent origin. George Harrison was appalled at Wilson's super tax, 95%. In his 1980 autobiography, I Me Mine, Harrison wrote: "'Taxman' was when I first realised that even though we had started earning money, we were actually giving most of it away in taxes. It was and still is typical."

Reply Mon 10 Feb, 2014 10:47 am

Now THAT has surprised me, as I only thought that it was a British sort of phenomenon, and it only hit a small part of America for a short while.

I bet he loved every minute of it!

I remember a TV docu about Pete Waterman (one of the writers) who said that Rick was wheeled out in front of him for his first audition, and PW thought he was just a silly little skinny kid who had delusions about being famous. Until he opened his mouth....
I must admit, his voice certainly doesn't suit his frame.
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Reply Mon 10 Feb, 2014 11:01 am

That's why they all buggered off, and I don't blame them!

The Stones, The Beatles, The Who.......

There's another song that came out as a result of all that Supertax malarkey.

Bill Wyman ended up living in the South of France because of the aforementioned Tax, and penned a tongue in cheek song which he originally handed over for someone else to do.
He didn't want to perform it as he had no desire to go solo' but'was eventually persuaded to put it out himself.
I saw an interview with him where he was mocking his awful French, and readily admitted to being useless at learning it while he was over there.

This was his self depracating way of showing how he got by......

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Reply Mon 10 Feb, 2014 12:42 pm
Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show - The Cover of the Rolling Stone

Wikipedia doesn't have too much on this parody song.

However, they do say -
The song satirizes success in the music business; the song's narrator laments that his band has not been featured on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine despite having the superficial attributes of a successful rock star, including drug usage, "teenage groupies, who'll do anything we say" and a frenetic guitar solo.

As a result, the band was on the March 29, 1973 cover of Rolling Stone; however, they did so in caricature, rather than in a photograph, and with the caption, "What's-Their-Names Make the Cover."

BBC Radio refused to play the song, as it contained the name of a commercial publication (Rolling Stone) and could therefore be considered advertising. The song was re-recorded and rush released in the UK as "The Cover of the Radio Times" (Radio Times being the name given to the weekly television and radio guide published by the BBC), which did find its way onto playlists.
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Reply Tue 11 Feb, 2014 12:29 pm
Jim Capaldi and Stevie Winwood wrote a song in 1968, which, although it was originally a "B side," became one of Traffic's most popular songs. The sanitized version is that the lyrics are "an evocation of a dream." However, Capaldi referred to the inspiration as "a hash-fueled dream."

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