Top 10 Songs Inspired by True Events

The Top Ten
1 The Trooper - Iron Maiden

Inspired by the Battle of Balaclava (1854), which took place during the Crimean War.

2 Smoke On the Water - Deep Purple

Lyrics tell a true story - in 1971 Deep Purple were in Montreux, Switzerland, to record an album in a studio located in Montreux Casino ("the gambling house" in the song lyric).
Yes, Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention were also there for a live show. During their concert the place suddenly caught fire when somebody in the audience fired a flare gun toward the rattan covered ceiling ("some stupid with a flare gun").
There were no major injuries but the fire destroyed the entire casino complex, along with all the Zappa equipment. Deep Purple bassist Roger Glover saw the smoke from the fire spreading over Lake Geneva and came up with this song title.

3 Tears In Heaven - Eric Clapton

It's about the death of his 4-year-old son who fell from a window of a 53rd-floor New York apartment.

4 Wind of Change - Scorpions

Inspired by the Fall of The Berlin Wall. This was a big historical event.

5 Fade to Black - Metallica
6 The Ballroom Blitz - The Sweet

It was inspired by an incident in 1973 when the band was performing live and the band members were driven offstage by a barrage of bottles.

7 Candle in the Wind - Elton John

Is based upon the life and death of Marilyn Monroe.

8 Fiddler on the Green - Demons & Wizards

Singer and lyricist saw 2 car accidents in one week - he saw how 2 kids were killed at the same intersection.

9 Pumped Up Kicks - Foster the People
10 Candle in the Wind 1997 - Elton John

Is based upon the life and death of Princess Diana.

The Contenders
11 Out In the Fields - Gary Moore & Phil Lynott

It's about the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

12 Sunday Bloody Sunday - U2

It's about the Troubles in Northern Ireland and the Bloody Sunday incident in Derry where British troops shot and killed unarmed civil rights protesters and bystanders.

13 Sleeping Sun - Nightwish

This song is about the solar eclipse of 1999.

14 Hurricane - Bob Dylan

About the false imprisonment of Rubin "Hurricane" Carter.

15 Jeremy - Pearl Jam

Based on the suicide of Jeremy Wade Delle, who shot himself in front of his class mates.

16 Mein Teil - Rammstein

While lyrically the song is only about cannibalism in general (told from the victim's perspective in a very sexualized and then kind of religious way) it was inspired by the Cannibal of Rotenburg.

17 The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald - Gordon Lightfoot
18 Watching Over Me - Iced Earth
19 The Empire of the Clouds - Iron Maiden

Based around the R101 airship disaster of 1930. Like with a lot of Maiden songs Bruce Dickinson really has a way of telling a tale through song.

20 Double Vision - Foreigner

Vocalist Lou Gramm explained: "...A lot of people think it's about being intoxicated or being high. When we were recording that song before we had the title, the New York Rangers hockey team was playing the Philadelphia Flyers and one of the big Flyers guys bumped into the Rangers' all-star goalie [ John Davidson ] and knocked him down and they had to take him out of the game because he was experiencing double vision."

21 Pompeii - Bastille
22 Darkness - Eminem

Based off of the Las Vegas shooting.

23 New York Mining Disaster 1941 - Bee Gees
24 Tag des Jüngsten Gerichts - Kay One

In this epic more than 20 minutes long rap epic Kay One's reflects on his entire career and on his feuds with other rappers.
Kay One has an infamous feud with Germany's most successful rapper Bushido who once was his friend, but then Kay One left the label, according to him due to his mafia ties and because he exploited him. When this song was released, there was a huge media coverage of the feud because Kay One also wanted to expose the mafia-like Abou Chaka clan and was under protection from police.

25 Michael X - Casper

This is about a friend's suicide.
Though the identity of that person is unknown, Casper confirmed it is based on a true event.

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