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. - Metal_Treasure

2 Smoke On the Water - Deep Purple

Great song, probably the best song ever written

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. - Metal_Treasure

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. - Metal_Treasure

4 Wind of Change - Scorpions

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

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. - Metal_Treasure

7 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. - Metal_Treasure

8 Candle in the Wind - Elton John

Is based upon the life and death of Marilyn Monroe. - Martin_Canine

9 Pumped Up Kicks - Foster the People
10 Out In the Fields - Gary Moore & Phil Lynott

It's about the Troubles in Northern Ireland. - Metal_Treasure

The Contenders

11 Candle in the Wind 1997 - Elton John

Is based upon the life and death of Princess Diana. - Martin_Canine

12 Sleeping Sun - Nightwish

This song is about the solar eclipse of 1999. - Martin_Canine

13 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. - Martin_Canine

14 Watching Over Me - Iced Earth
15 New York Mining Disaster 1941 - Bee Gees
16 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. - Metal_Treasure

17 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. - Martin_Canine

18 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. - SuperSonic17

19 Stagger Lee - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

Stagger Lee was a real person who murdered his best friend. Even though this version takes a few liberties with the story. - Martin_Canine

20 Vom Dealer zum Star - Kollegah

While 98% of Kollegah's stories involving criminal activity are entirely fictional and part of his stage persona as a pimp, this one is actually true.
It centers around a time when Kollegah was dealing drugs, and started rapping as a hobby. Then he immediately got a label contract only a few weeks after having uploaded stuff on the net (that was before YouTube), but continued to deal with drugs, but after his second album/mixtape he was caught with drugs and had to pay a penalty, and since then ended his drug career to fully devote his time to music. And considering how famous, acclaimed and successful he became in the 2010s (the song is from 2007), that was the best decision he could make. - Martin_Canine

21 Leben und Tod des Kenneth Glöckler - Bushido

This is Bushido's point of view of Kay One's rap career and his personal relationship to him. The song lasts more than 10 minutes and lets Kay One appear like someone who only makes friends with famous people to get money and fame out of it. He says that over the years Kay One was known for being friends with several rappers and every time he met a more famous one, he ended the friendship with the previous one
One year later, Kay One released his side of the story with "Tag des jüngsten Gerichts". I also added that song, for further information on the feud see the comment I added under that item. - Martin_Canine

22 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. - Martin_Canine

23 Sternenträumer - Andrea Berg

Andrea Berg wrote this song about her father who died a few years earlier and about how she copes with his death. - Martin_Canine

24 Unforgivable Youth - Lupe Fiasco

The first verse is about the killings of the Native Americans, and the second verse is about the slavery of Africans.

(Massive spoiler: the third verse is set in the future, unexpectedly breaking with the premise of the first two verses) - Martin_Canine

25 Stay Together for the Kids - blink-182
26 Empty Garden (Hey, Hey Johnny) - Elton John

Based upon the murder of John Lennon. - clusium

27 Sniper - Harry Chapin

Based upon the mass shooting committed by Charles Whitman. - clusium

28 Hurricane - Bob Dylan

About the false imprisonment of Rubin "Hurricane" Carter. - BrianScott01

29 Sleep Alone - Moby

A devastating, haunting piece about the 9/11 attacks. The music really puts you in the place. - PositronWildhawk

30 Sacrificed Sons - Dream Theater

Written about the 9/11 attacks. - IronSabbathPriest

31 Paschendale - Iron Maiden

Written about the battle of Passchendaele (1917). The lyrics in this song makes for one of the greatest war poems of all time. - IronSabbathPriest

32 The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald - Gordon Lightfoot

About the sinking of the ship, 'The Edmund Fitzgerald.' - clusium

33 Shock Me - Kiss

Ace Frehley suffered electric shock right before a live show. - Metal_Treasure

34 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." - Metal_Treasure

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