Top 10 Songs About Being a Musician or Music-Related Problems

The Top Ten
1 Smoke on the Water - Deep Purple

It describes the real troubles Deep Purple had while trying to record the album Machine Head, including this song. There were some truly extreme circumstances in Switzerland. The building they were supposed to record the songs in burned down, they got evicted by the police for playing loud, and they had to use mattresses as "sound-insulating equipment" that the band members provided by walking across the hotel balconies ("few old beds" in the lyrics).

I have no space to describe everything here, but you can read more in the list - Moments From the Real Story of Deep Purple's Album 'Machine Head' that Can Make a Great Movie Plot. Yes, it would be a movie about a rock band with elements of drama and action, and with a hint of comedy.

"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
We ended up at the Grand Hotel
It was empty, cold and bare
But with the Rolling truck Stones thing just outside
Making our music there
With a few red lights and a few old beds
We made a place to sweat."

2 Turn The Page - Bob Seger
3 It's a Long Way to the Top - If You Wanna Rock 'N' Roll - AC/DC
4 Ballroom Blitz - Sweet
5 The Everlasting Muse - Belle & Sebastian
6 5 Minutes Alone - Pantera
7 Bleed It Out - Linkin Park

A song about the problems of the songwriting process in the band. Mike Shinoda wrote the lyrics and told Kerrang! Magazine:

"I wrote the lyrics to this about 100 times. It's always frustrating as a lyricist to come in with a new version that you spent hours on and have the band tell you that it's not there yet. In one case, they listened to my lyrics for 30 seconds and told me to start over again. That was pretty hard. It felt like I was bringing in the lyrics, getting punched in the face, and then going back to the drawing board. When it finally came together, I said to the band, 'I don't think anyone but us could have made a song like this.' It's a bizarre death-party-rap-hoedown!"

8 Pages - 3 Doors Down
9 There Only Was One Choice - Harry Chapin

A musician's journey, from learning and beginning his dream and career, to midlife contemplation of his life, decisions, and the world surrounding him, against the backdrop of US history, ideals, and its bicentennial.

10 Have All the Songs Been Written? - The Killers

That's the musical equivalent of the question many users of TheTopTens often ask: "Have All the Lists Been Taken?"

Back to the song:
"Have all the songs been written?
Ohhh, I just need one to get through to you.
I just need one more."

The Contenders
11 On a Plain - Nirvana
12 Money for Nothing - Dire Straits

You play the guitar on the MTV
That ain't workin' that's the way you do it
Money for nothing and your chicks for free.
I shoulda learned to play the guitar
I shoulda learned to play them drums.
And he's up there, what's that? Hawaiian noises?
Bangin' on the bongos like a chimpanzee
Oh, that ain't workin' that's the way you do it
Get your money for nothing, get your chicks for free.

13 I'm Just a Singer in a Rock N Roll Band - The Moody Blues
14 The Cover of Rolling Stone - Dr. Hook

Actually known as Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show at the time. Very amusing song about a band seeking and achieving some popularity.

15 Writing - Elton John
16 Mediocrity Wins - Leprous
17 Hooker With a Penis - Tool

A song about dealing with fans and criticism. Leader/singer Maynard JK met a fan who said that Tool was selling out. This song was his response. Eh, his style, hehe.

18 My Iron Lung - Radiohead

This song is about how the song "Creep" put Radiohead in a metaphorical "iron lung." While it sustained them by giving them financial security and access to mainstream audiences, it constrained them artistically because audiences pegged them as "the Creep band." Many other bands end up in an iron lung similar to theirs.

"Cherry Pie" and Warrant are good examples. Many bands don't escape the iron lung.

19 So You Want to Be a Rock 'N' Roll Star - The Byrds
20 Say Liza (Liza with a Z) - Liza Minnelli
21 Pop Star - Cat Stevens
22 Who the F*** Are Arctic Monkeys? - Arctic Monkeys
23 The Bends - Radiohead
24 Denmark Street - The Kinks

This song is about how difficult it is to get a publishing deal. Most of the songs on Lola vs. Powerman are a condemnation of the record industry, tackling concepts such as bad managers (The Moneygoround), record executives (Powerman), unions (Get Back in the Line), the musical press (Top of the Pops), and life on the road (This Time Tomorrow).

And it was released in 1970. Most people don't realize it, but the music industry has been corrupt for decades.

25 Green - The Descendents
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