Top 10 Great Songs With Interesting Stories Behind Them

We should use 2 criteria here:
1) how great the song is
2) how unique, impressive or cool the story is.

The Top Ten

1 Highway Star - Deep Purple

A masterpiece and one of the first Deep Purple songs that featured many metal elements.
How they wrote this song?

"This song was born on a tour bus going to Portsmouth in 1971 when a reporter asked the band how they wrote songs. To demonstrate, guitarist Ritchie Blackmore grabbed an acoustic guitar and began playing a riff consisting of a single "G" repeated over and over, while vocalist Ian Gillan improvised lyrics over the top. The song was refined and was performed that SAME NIGHT." (Wiki)

Wow, this is called musical genius. They didn’t even have a studio version and rehearsals. And, this appeared to be one of the first early metal songs so they were even inventing a new genre. Hands down. - Metal_Treasure

2 The Show Must Go On - Queen

He completely nailed it! I miss this legend. He was ill and he gave everything. - Userguy44

This was Freddie's last song and he sang it when he was so ill that barely walked. He was dying.
Brian May had concerns as to whether Freddie was physically capable of singing it. But recalling Mercury's performance, May states:
"I said, 'Fred, I don't know if this is going to be possible to sing.'
And he went, 'I'll f-cking do it, darling' - vodka down - and went in and killed it, completely lacerated that vocal."

So true - we all know that Freddie "completely lacerated that vocal". - Metal_Treasure

3 Urgent - Foreigner

This song is a masterpiece from start to finish but one of it’s most beautiful and surprising elements is the sax solo. A sax solo is pretty unusual in a hard rock song when used instead of the expected guitar solo.

Foreigner wanted a "Junior Walker-style" sax solo for this record. When they took a break from recording, one of the members read in New York newspaper ‘The Village Voice’ that Walker was performing that night mere blocks from the recording studio. Walker had never heard of Foreigner but the group had promised a pretty good payday for one song, so he accepted their offer to play.

The recording of the sax solo was swift - they played the raw track for him and asked him to improvise a solo. After a SINGLE LISTENING, he amazed the group by cutting one of the most memorable sax solos in rock history IN ONE TAKE. Genius. There aren't many sax solos that are better.

In 1981 "Urgent" hit #1 on the Billboard Rock Tracks chart, a position it held for four ...more - Metal_Treasure

4 I Was Made for Lovin' You - Kiss

Maybe not many of you know that the signature song of this hard rock band is actually A... Disco song!

Paul Stanley, who co-wrote the song with Desmond Child and Vini Poncia, has stated that it was a conscious effort on his part to prove how easy it was to write and record a hit disco song.
"I Was Made for Lovin' You" draws heavily from the disco style that was popular in late-1970s United States. - Metal_Treasure

5 My Way - Frank Sinatra

Frank Sinatra's signature song, "My Way", is actually a French song (Comme d'habitude by Claude François, available on YouTube).
The Canadian singer and songwriter Paul Anka was in Paris and after hearing the song while watching French television, bought the song's publication and adaptation rights for only ONE dollar. The original songwriters retained the music-composition half of their songwriter royalties.
Anka wrote English lyrics specifically for Frank Sinatra, who then recorded a cross-Atlantic version of it in 1969 under the title "My Way".
Paul Anka also sang it. Check out: Paul Anka - My Way. - Metal_Treasure

6 The Winner Takes It All - Abba

I'm so sorry that the story is missing but it's not my fault - I submitted the stories to all items. Yet, 3 item descriptions did not appear - I guess they are waiting for human review and approval. - Metal_Treasure

Björn and Agnetha of ABBA were bandmates but also a happy couple for 7 years, with 2 children. He fell for another woman and they got divorced. The failure of their marriage inspired Björn to write “The Winner Takes It All” (1980). That was the end of the marriage and the band - one of the most legendary groups of all time.

I think that it was psychologically quite cruel to make Agnetha sing this song, provided that she was obviously "The Loser who is standing small" and the other woman - The Winner Who Takes It All. Geez, as if the divorce alone wasn't cruel enough for her. But Agnetha nailed this song. - Metal_Treasure

7 Nothing Else Matters - Metallica

This is the most popular Metallica song but interestingly, it wasn't meant to be released at all because Hetfield wrote it for himself. But the drummer Lars Ulrich heard it and insisted on considering the song for the album.
And yes, this is a love song. Many people don't know this.

"Singer and rhythm guitarist James Hetfield wrote the song (credited to Hetfield/Ulrich) while he was on the phone with his then girlfriend. Since he held the phone with one hand, he plucked the four open strings of a standard E-minor chord with the other, which eventually made up the first two bars of the song. The lyrics, which talk about being "so close, no matter how far", were also dedicated to his girlfriend, indicating the bond they shared even when Hetfield was on tour." (wiki) - Metal_Treasure

8 Fiddler On the Green - Demons & Wizards

This amazing, beautiful and sad ballad is based on a sad story. Hansi Kürsch, singer & lyricist, witnessed two car accidents in his neighborhood while walking his dog - at the same intersection, within only one week. Hansi saw how two kids were killed - a boy and a girl.

Hansi Kürsch turned this tragedy into a sad but almost romantic story: the kids were soulmates and Death took the life of the boy by mistake too early. Then came back to take the life of the girl, too, because the boy was quite alone there. The song describes in details the second accident, when the "poor old Fiddler" talks to the girl: "Would you mind if take you? "
The album cover depicts this story. - Metal_Treasure

9 Layla - Derek & The Dominos

A ballad written by Eric Clapton about his unrequited love for Pattie Boyd, wife of his friend George Harrison from The Beatles. - Metal_Treasure

10 Missä Miehet Ratsastaa - Teräsbetoni

It's a very enjoyable power metal song in Finnish, with great vocals and everything, but this isn't the most interesting fact.
This song was elected (nation-wide voting) to represent Finland at the Eurovision International Song Contest 2008. This contest is not for metal songs but Finland sent a metal band to represent them!
No doubt, Finland is a metal nation. In every other country metal music is kept far from the official image of the nation but this isn’t true for Finland.

You can find the Semi-final performance of this song on YouTube: "ESC08 Semi-final: Teräsbetoni - Missä miehet ratsastaa (HQ)"
The studio version is also highly recommended - it has a very cool and funny video clip. - Metal_Treasure

The Contenders

11 Angry Again - Megadeth

This is one of my favorite Megadeth songs but it never appeared on any of the band's official studio albums. It was written exclusively for inclusion in the 1993 satirical action film Last Action Hero, which starred Arnold Schwarzenegger, and appeared on the film's soundtrack.

Dave Mustaine wrote the song IN ONE DAY, while half asleep listening to the melody of "Should I Stay or Should I Go" by The Clash. When Dave wrote the song, he was angry with his band, promoters, and a lot of different parts of the organization, and continued having some problems with drugs again. According to Dave Mustaine himself, he wrote the song during a spur of the moment "I wrote 'Angry Again' right after I got out of a treatment center in Arizona. They had done one of those happy little 1990s interventions where everybody who's not loaded gets to point the finger at everyone who is. And the day I got out of rehab, they threw me into a studio in Phoenix where I wrote 'Angry Again' for the movie The ...more - Metal_Treasure

12 You Give Love a Bad Name - Bon Jovi

This song is actually a version of "If You Were a Woman (And I Was a Man)" - a song Desmond Child wrote for Bonnie Tyler. Desmond Child was dissatisfied with the chart success of Bonnie Tyler's song and re-wrote it as "You Give Love a Bad Name" for Bon Jovi.
I would kindly invite you to visit my list "Greatest Hit Songs Co-Written by Desmond Child". You will be surprised. - Metal_Treasure

13 Angie - The Rolling Stones

Many people believe this is a break up song, and listen to this song when dumped and cry to it, because of a line in the song, "Ain't it time we said goodbye".
But it’s not exactly a break up song. - Metal_Treasure

14 All Those Years Ago - George Harrison
15 Holy Wars... the Punishment Due - Megadeth

This song was written after an incident where Dave Mustiane shouted 'Give Ireland back to the Irish" after a fan threw a coin I think was which hit him and his guitar which then all hell broke loose as Protestant and Catholics starting fight each other and Megadeth had to be escorted back to Dublin in a bulletproof bus (They were playing in Northern Ireland) - christangrant

16 Beyond the Realms of Death - Judas Priest

A song dedicated to the enemy of the character. It's a suicide song - very beautiful but very controversial.

Every time I listen to this song I wonder if Halford wanted to kill himself because he was gay. Lyrics are written by him and I guess it was more difficult to be gay in the 70s than now. In 1977 there was a huge anti-gay campaign initiated by Anita Bryant. Judas Priest released this song in 1978 and Halford dedicated the song to "Anita Bryant and all those schmucks".

"No matter how they tried, they couldn't understand
Keep the world with all its sin, it's not fit for livin' in". - Metal_Treasure

17 Bangla Desh - George Harrison
18 Hooker With a Penis - Tool

The story is exactly how it sounds in the song. Maynard meets a fan who says he thinks that Tool is selling out. This song was his response - ryanrimmel

Thanks Ryan, cool story - I didn't expect exactly this from a song with this song title, hehe - Metal_Treasure

19 Taxi - Harry Chapin
20 There Only Was One Choice - Harry Chapin
21 Fire and Rain - James Taylor
22 Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath

I wonder what the story is of this song. - Userguy44

23 Eleanor Rigby - The Beatles
24 Whole Lotta Rosie - AC/DC
25 Gimme Shelter - Rolling Stones
26 Ain't No Rest for the Wicked - Cage the Elephant
27 The Four Horsemen - Metallica
28 Mechanix - Megadeth

What is it about? - Userguy44

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