40 Little Known Facts About the Greatest Songs of All Time

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1Fakin' It

Paul Simon listed "Fakin' It" as being 2:74 because radio stations wouldn't play anything listed at over 3 minutes long.


2. The song 'Africa' by Toto is actually about a boy "trying to write a song on Africa, but since he has never been there, he can only tell what he has seen on TV or remembers in the past". This explains the apparently inaccurate line about Kilimanjaro rising above the Serengeti.


3. Pearl Jam’s song “Jeremy” is based on the real-life classroom suicide of Jeremy Wade Delle of Texas, who was released from a mental hospital and sent back to school. Reportedly, once his insurance money ran out he was deemed “cured.”


4. In 2006, Gnarls Barkley removed their hit single 'Crazy' from music stores after it remained at the top of the British charts for 9 weeks, so people would "remember the song fondly and not get sick of it."


5. Bloodhound Gang recorded a track called “The Ten Coolest Things About New Jersey”. The “song” consists of 10 seconds of silence.


6Friday I'm in Love

While writing the popular 1990s song Friday I'm in Love, The Cure frontman Robert Smith became convinced that he stole the tune from somewhere, and was so paranoid that he called every person he knew and played the song for them, asking if they recognized it. It was, indeed, unique.


7. Despite the widespread success of his song "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," Solomon Linda never received a cent of its royalties and died poor in 1962. He didn't even get a gravestone until 18 years after his death.


8. The "Where do we go now?" ending to Guns N Roses 'Sweet Child O' Mine' was born from the band not knowing how to finish that part of the song.


9. The song "Red Red Wine" was written by Neil Diamond in 1967. The band UB40 covered it in 1983 in a light reggae style and it reached #1 on the Billboard 100. Diamond has stated that it is one of his favorite covers and he often performs the song in the UB40 style instead of the original version.


10. "Every Breath You Take" by The Police is supposed to be about someone obsessed with a lost lover, and who stalks them. Sting, who wrote it, is troubled by how many people think it is a love song.


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11One Week

The Barenaked Ladies song “One Week” peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard charts, where it remained top spot for exactly one week.


12. The song “I Put a Spell on You” by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins was supposed to be a ballad, but during a recording session, Hawkins “screamed and grunted” through the whole song because he was drunk. It was his most-successful recording and is in The Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.


13. “Prisencolinensinainciusol,” is an Italian pop song that is full of Gibberish. It meant to sound like how English sounds to non-English speakers.


14. The song 'Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)' was originally written as an anti-LSD track. Kenny Rogers covered it, leading to it becoming a counter-culture hit and a long-lasting representation of the late 60's psychedelic era.


15. The Weezer song "Mykel and Carli song", released in 1994, is about sisters Mykel and Carli Allan who established the band's fan club and are considered the band's biggest fans. Mykel and Carli, and younger sister Trisha, died in a car accident in 1997. Members of Weezer attended their funeral.


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16Dare to Be Stupid

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic wrote an original song called “Dare to Be Stupid” in the style of DEVO. Devo’s Mark Mothersbaugh said, “I was in shock. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever heard. He sort of re-sculpted that song into something else and... I hate him for it, basically.”


17. After thinking Johhny Cash covering his song 'hurt' was a bit "gimmicky", Trent Reznor heard it and said "tears welling, silence, goose-bumps... that song isn't mine anymore."


18. In the late 90’s Eminem played his then-unreleased song “Just The Two Of Us” for Will Smith who said: “You’re either gonna be the biggest flop in Hip Hop, or you’re gonna be the biggest thing that we’ve ever seen in Hip Hop.”


19. "Thrift Shop" by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis was the first song since 1994 to reach No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart without the support of a major record label.


20. The Macarena is a song about a woman cheating on her boyfriend with his two friends while he's being drafted into the military.


21I Can't Drive 55

The Sammy Hagar song "I Can't Drive 55" is a song protesting a US federal law (the National Maximum Speed Law) that had mandated a national speed limit of 55 miles per hour (90 km/h). The law was repealed in 1995.


22. John Lennon repeatedly denied that the song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" is about LSD and that he got the inspiration for the song when his son brought home a drawing of his friend Lucy who was in the sky with diamonds.


23. "Baby Got Back" by Sir Mix-a-lot was a call to see the beauty in diversity. Sir Mix-a-lot used the song to blame the media for skewing the notion of beauty and hoped his music would empower women of all shapes and sizes.


24. Paul McCartney wrote the song "Hey, Jude" to console Julian Lennon during his parent's breakup. Julian stated later that Paul was more of a father figure than John ever was.


25. Led Zeppelin songs “Ramble On,” “Misty Mountain Hop,” and “The Battle for Evermore” were all inspired by The Hobbit and/or The Lord of the Rings. Black Sabbath, Rush, Genesis, and many other classic rock bands were also inspired by Tolkien’s works.

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