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

The Top Ten
1 Smoke on the Water - Deep Purple Smoke on the Water - Deep Purple Cover Art

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 burned down, they got evicted by the police for playing loud, they had to use mattresses as "sound-insulting equipment" that the band members provided by walking across the hotel balconies ("few old beds" in the lyrics), etc. 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 ...more

2 Turn The Page - Bob Seger Turn The Page - Bob Seger Cover Art

This song perfectly describes a musician on tour:
"Out there in the spotlight you're a million miles away
Every ounce of energy you try to give away
As the sweat pours out your body like the music that you play

Later in the evening as you lie awake in bed
With the echoes from the amplifiers ringin' in your head
You smoke the day's last cigarette, remembering what she said

Ah Here I am, on a road again
There I am, up on the stage
Here I go, playing the star again
There I go, turn the page"

3 Ballroom Blitz - Sweet Ballroom Blitz - Sweet Cover Art

It's about an incident at a live show - band members were driven offstage by a barrage of bottles. No serious injuries.

"Oh yeah, it was electric

So frantically hectic
And the band started leaving
'Cause they all stopped breathing
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

And the man at the back said: "Everyone attack"
And it turned into a ballroom blitz"

4 It's a Long Way to the Top - If You Wanna Rock 'N' Roll - AC/DC It's a Long Way to the Top - If You Wanna Rock 'N' Roll - AC/DC Cover Art

"Gettin' ripped off, underpaid
Gettin' sold, second-hand
That's how it goes, playing' in a band
It's a long way to the top, if you want to rock 'n' roll
It's a long way to the top, if you want to rock 'n' roll
If you wanna be a star on stage and screen
Look out, it's rough and mean"

5 5 Minutes Alone - Pantera 5 Minutes Alone - Pantera Cover Art

It's about dealing with problematic audience members.
Pantera's drummer Vinnie Paul said:

"The story behind this song is we were opening for Megadeth, and there was a guy that was flipping us off the whole show and so we stopped the show. And I was like, 'Listen, in case you haven't noticed there's 18,000 people who really dig what we're doing. You're the only one doing that stupid s**t without even having to egg the crowd on.' Ten guys just jumped the guy and beat the s**t out of him. His dad called the manager after all the lawsuits and this and that, and basically said, 'Give me five minutes with that Phil Anselmo guy. I want to whup his a**."
Pantera's vocalist Phil Anselmo added: "There are always gold-diggers out there. The way I remember it was there was this kid that swore that I jumped off the stage and beat him up. Well, that was bulls**t. That did not happen at all. When the father asked for five minutes alone with me, our manager responded aptly ...more

6 The Everlasting Muse - Belle & Sebastian The Everlasting Muse - Belle & Sebastian Cover Art

A song about trying to find inspiration (muse), write a song and choose a music genre (rock vs pop) :
"And on the napkin silk
She weaves a manuscript with skill
An intro, outro, middle 8
A tapestry of words
A subtle gift to modern rock
She says "be popular, play pop"
And you will win my love"

7 There Only Was One Choice - Harry Chapin There Only Was One Choice - Harry Chapin Cover Art

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 and ideals and it's bicentennial.

8 Bleed It Out - Linkin Park Bleed It Out - Linkin Park Cover Art

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! "

9 Pages - 3 Doors Down Pages - 3 Doors Down Cover Art

"What happens to a man when
He spills his heart on a page and
He watches words flow away then
His feelings lie on the page alone
There waiting
For someone who cares to read them
To open their eyes to see them
To see if they can make his thoughts their own
To find out that maybe your life's not perfect"

10 On a Plain - Nirvana On a Plain - Nirvana Cover Art

This song explains why Nirvana lyrics are... you know what their lyrics are...
"What the hell am I trying to say?

It is now time to make it unclear
To write off lines that don't make sense"

The Contenders
11 Have All the Songs Been Written? - The Killers Have All the Songs Been Written? - The Killers Cover Art

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"

12 Money for Nothing - Dire Straits Money for Nothing - Dire Straits Cover Art

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

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 Writing - Elton John Cover Art
16 Mediocrity Wins - Leprous Mediocrity Wins - Leprous Cover Art
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 were selling out. This song was his response. Eh...his style, hehe.

18 My Iron Lung - Radiohead My Iron Lung - Radiohead Cover Art

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 is a good example); many bands don't escape the iron lung.

19 Say Liza (Liza with a Z) - Liza Minnelli

A song about her names (both of them) being mispronounced and misspelled (a pretty funny song):
"It's Liza with a Z Not Lisa with an S
Oh! And that is only half of it
There's another way
Fate treats me cruelly.
How often I remember someone saying
"There she goes, Lisa Minooli! "
Or Minoli, or Miniola, or Minili, or Minelie
So is it a wonder, I very often cry?
It's M-I-Double N,
then-E-Double L-I,
You double up the N, that's nn, not ll
Then E, double the L, end it with an I,
That's the way you say Minnelli...
Liza Minnelli,
It's Italian,
Blame it on papa,
What can I do?

20 Pop Star - Cat Stevens Pop Star - Cat Stevens Cover Art
21 The Bends - Radiohead The Bends - Radiohead Cover Art
22 Denmark Street - The Kinks Denmark Street - The Kinks Cover Art

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.

23 So You Want to Be a Rock 'N' Roll Star - The Byrds So You Want to Be a Rock 'N' Roll Star - The Byrds Cover Art
24 Green - The Descendents Green - The Descendents Cover Art
25 Punk is Dead - Crass Punk is Dead - Crass Cover Art
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