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Author Topic: songs with a deeper meaning
Karmachic
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by trollface:
Yeah, I hadn't heard the "Hey Jude" = herion thing, either. I'd also heard the "Julian Lennon" thing. Especially as it started out (reportedly) as "Hey Jules".

this was off a site

Hey Jude" is perhaps the crowning glory of the Beatles as a cohesive band. Recently, the hand written manuscript surfaced at Christies in London to be auctioned along with approximately 90 other Beatles memorabilia. McCartney successfully halted the sale after claiming that it had disappeared from his home. The originality of the script was authenticated by its current holder with an appraisal from Sotheby's. The document contains 19 original lines handwritten by McCartney. The last 6 lines heard in the original recording are not included in the manuscript. Christies had expected to raise approximately $116,000 from the sale before the courts ordered its withdrawal from the auction.

The message behind the song is explained by understanding the times in which it was penned. Lennon had "come together" with Yoko Ono in 1968 breaking up his marriage with Cynthia. McCartney had become close with Lennon's son Julian, then 5 years old. He wrote the song for Julian and entitled it "Hey Julian." Seeking solace and deeper meaning, Lennon believed, it was McCartney's subconscious way of giving his blessing to the union between Lennon and Yoko and giving him leave. The union of Lennon and Yoko ultimately put the Beatles on a destructive path and eventual breakup.

The Beatles influence on the recording industry is undeniable. Hey Jude, running 7:09 minutes was the first single recording to break the approximate 3 minute barrier common on single releases. It was the also first single to be released on the Beatle's own Apple Label.

Hey Jude gained market popularity because it delivered repetitive lyrics that were easy to learn giving wing to sing-along involvement by listeners. As a teen, I can remember being in a packed Jr. college cafeteria with everyone singing along to "Hey, Jude." The song quickly climbed the charts becoming the Beatles most successful commercial single release. Aiding the single sales was the B side "Revolution." later featured on the White Album.

The White Album marked the turning point in the Beatles careers. "Hey Jude" was recorded during the recording of the White Album. It remains unexplained why it was released only as a single and not appearing on the White Album. Also unexplained is why Hey Jude had never been performed live in concert by the Beatles. Perhaps a touch of mystery surrounding the song has made it an everlasting favorite in the hearts of the 60s Beatle fans.

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Santa Mari-a
Happy Holly Days


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quote:

quote:
Is anyone going to tell me what American Pie is about then?
It's mostly about February 3, 1959, when Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and JP "the Big Bopper" Richardson were killed in a plane crash; rumor had it that the plane was called "American Pie", but that's just a UL. [/QB]
That is what I've heard about it also (not the rumor about the plane, though). It's also partly autobiographical, it seems--starting out with the narrator at his high school prom in the late 50's, then progressing through the 60's. The narrator is also the spirit of rock and roll. "His widowed bride" could be Jackie Kennedy as well as the wives of the singers who died in the crash. People have seen allusions to various 60's singers: "The jester" is Bob Dylan, the "girl who sang the blues" is Janis Joplin. "Helter Skelter in a summer swelter" refers to the Manson killings; "as I watched him on the stage my hands were clenched in fists of rage, no angel born in hell could break that satan's spell" refers to Altamont.

I don't pretend any of this is gospel; this is what I've heard.

--------------------
Si hoc comprehendere potes, gratias age magistro Latinae.

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Pogue Ma-humbug
Happy Christmas (Malls are Open)


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quote:
Originally posted by Mari:
quote:

quote:
Is anyone going to tell me what American Pie is about then?
It's mostly about February 3, 1959, when Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and JP "the Big Bopper" Richardson were killed in a plane crash; rumor had it that the plane was called "American Pie", but that's just a UL.

That is what I've heard about it also (not the rumor about the plane, though). It's also partly autobiographical, it seems--starting out with the narrator at his high school prom in the late 50's, then progressing through the 60's. The narrator is also the spirit of rock and roll. "His widowed bride" could be Jackie Kennedy as well as the wives of the singers who died in the crash. People have seen allusions to various 60's singers: "The jester" is Bob Dylan, the "girl who sang the blues" is Janis Joplin. "Helter Skelter in a summer swelter" refers to the Manson killings; "as I watched him on the stage my hands were clenched in fists of rage, no angel born in hell could break that satan's spell" refers to Altamont.

I don't pretend any of this is gospel; this is what I've heard. [/QB]

You're pretty much on target. While various details are quibbled over -- who were the "three men I admired most"? -- the song is basically a short history of living with rock 'n' roll.

Pogue

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Let's drink to the causes in your life:
Your family, your friends, the union, your wife.

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Four Kitties
Layaway in a Manger


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quote:
THE LAST WORD (PROBABLY) ON "AMERICAN PIE"

As you can imagine, over the years I've been asked many times to discuss and explain my song "American Pie" [June25]. I have never discussed the lyrics, but have admitted to the Holly reference in the opening stanzas. I dedicated the album American Pie to Buddy Holly as well in order to connect the entire statement to Holly in hopes of bringing about an interest in him, which subsequently did occur.

....

You will find many "interpretations" of my lyrics but none of them by me. Isn't this fun?

Sorry to leave you on your own like this but long ago I realized that songwriters should make their statements and move on, maintaining a dignified silence.

- Don McLean

The Annotated American Pie

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If swimming is so good for your figure, how do you explain whales?

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Johnny Slick
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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One of the points of "American Pie" is that it places early rock history in a sort of mythical semi-Biblical framework. Indeed, one of the points of the song is how rock music was so much like a new religion.

"Do you believe in rock and roll?
Can music save your mortal soul?
And can you show me how to dance real slow?"

A couple more that haven't been mentioned yet:

- "Mother and Child Reunion" by Paul Simon was named after a combination plate (chicken and eggs) he saw at a Chinese restaurant. IIRC the lyrics themselves are about they way he felt after his dog died.

- "Brick" by the Ben Folds Five is about a botched abortion, although I guess that's pretty obvious.

- "Pinch Me" by the Barenaked Ladies is about depression. The thing that I really like about this particular song is that it's not merely a "I'm sad, I'm sad, I'm sad all the time" kind of thing that seems to be how depression is portrayed all the time in the media.

- Speaking of BNL, "Brian Wilson" is about, well, Brian Wilson and his own battles with depression.

- "Zoot Suit Riot" by the Cherry Poppin Daddies is about a riot between Mexicans and whites in (I believe) San Francisco in the 1940s. Correct me if I'm wrong there.

- "Spam" by Save Ferris is about nasty luncheon meat.

John Craven

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Give big space to the festive dog that makes sport in roadway. Avoid entanglement of dog with wheel spokes.

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Macavity
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Another story I'd heard from long ago was that "The First Time Ever I saw Your Face" by Roberta Flack was about her kitten after it had been hit by a car. Anyone know? Of course, the song took on a whole new meaning on Johnny Cash's last album.
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Vivling
Happy Holly Days


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quote:
Originally posted by Macavity:
and that their "One" song was about an HIV-infected son & his attempt to reconcile with his estranged father. Unfortunately i also don't recall where I read this.

I also heard this somewhere; it sounds familiar. One of the three versions of the one video shows some bison running in slo-mo through a field, and it's filmed in black-and-white. According to Pop-Up Video this was supposed to be a metaphor for AIDS, and the director died of AIDS sometime in the 90's.

--------------------
Climb up, over the the top
Shake it, take control
You've got to find out for yourself whether or not you're truly trying
--Jason Mraz

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HazyCosmicJive
The First USA Noel


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Rose Red wrote:
quote:
There's a song by Queen on their Night At The Opera album called '39, which is about Einsteins's theory of relativity (or something like that - not exactly an expert on physics, me. It's about some people who go away in a space rocket for a year and come back to Earth only to find that 100 years has gone past).
That's not surprising. Brian May (Queen's guitarist; "'39's" songwriter) has a Ph.D. in physics.

On American Pie: You can dissect each line and find the historical musical reference (and I have), but the best nutshell interpretation I've ever heard came from my sister: "'American Pie' is about the history of rock music and why MacLean himself is not a central figure in it." It's ironic that the song about what excluded him from being a phenomenon is the one that everyone now knows him for.

As far as other songs with a "deeper meaning," crikey, have you got a few years to go over all of them?

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Suddenly she realizes that amongst a crazy drunken schoolmarm, a navy swim instructor with a food fetish, a southern hick farmer, a porn star turned used car dealer, and a horny ex-football player, she won't be this strange outsider.

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Darqstar
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by Rose Red:
There's a song by Queen on their Night At The Opera album called '39, which is about Einsteins's theory of relativity (or something like that - not exactly an expert on physics, me. It's about some people who go away in a space rocket for a year and come back to Earth only to find that 100 years has gone past).


That always fascinated me, because I was the first of my friends to figure out that it wasn't about the past, but about the future. Queen went to a lot of trouble to give it an old fashioned feeling. Most of my friends thought it was originally about the Vikings, until I pointed out that "Oh so many years have gone, though I'm older but a year." No, my friends weren't stupid, we were just pretty young when it came out.

It's still one of my favorite Queen songs.

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Tabbymago
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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According to Rob Thomas, "3AM" is based on the worry and confusion he felt as a little kid watching his mother battle cancer.

-Tabby
the princess with claws

--------------------
If you don't appreciate the irony, the irony appreciates.

"Sappiness and medieval violence: it's a wonderful combination. Like chocolate and peanut butter for the mind." -me on my fantasy novel-in-progress

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Keeper of the Mad Bunnies
Jingle Bell Hock


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quote:
Originally posted by HazyCosmicJive:
That's not surprising. Brian May (Queen's guitarist; "'39's" songwriter) has a Ph.D. in physics.

Not exactly. Brian May has a BSc in physics and had begun a PhD program in astronomy.

James Powell

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Chimera
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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Don McLean gave a vague explaination of "American Pie" lyrics in an interview with Casey Kasem. I pretty sure he said the jester was Bob Dylan (makes since he would be "in a cast" if it was after his motorcycle wreck). I'm also about 90% sure he said it had nothing to do with religion. (ETA: I read a transcript of the interview once but there has been some debate over it)

ETA: I think "The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald" was about a boat wreck.

--------------------
"The question for joining the protected forum for real magicians should be:

What is the use of women?"
Steve W. from JREF's 'This is no fun'

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Santa Mari-a
Happy Holly Days


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quote:
Originally posted by Chimera:

ETA: I think "The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald" was about a boat wreck.

Yes, I think it was an actual historical event, in the late 1970's, IIRC about a year before the song came out.

If it weren't for that song, I never would have gotten a Trivial Pursuit question about which lake was called Gitchee Goomie (Superior).

--------------------
Si hoc comprehendere potes, gratias age magistro Latinae.

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Suron
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by Mari:
Yes, I think it was an actual historical event, in the late 1970's, IIRC about a year before the song came out.

Yep. It's a pretty famous wreck, too.
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HazyCosmicJive
The First USA Noel


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quote:
Originally posted by Keeper of the Mad Bunnies:
quote:
Originally posted by HazyCosmicJive:
That's not surprising. Brian May (Queen's guitarist; "'39's" songwriter) has a Ph.D. in physics.

Not exactly. Brian May has a BSc in physics and had begun a PhD program in astronomy.
Ah yes, you are right. I stand corrected. 10-Q.

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Suddenly she realizes that amongst a crazy drunken schoolmarm, a navy swim instructor with a food fetish, a southern hick farmer, a porn star turned used car dealer, and a horny ex-football player, she won't be this strange outsider.

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Drew
The Red and the Green Stamps


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http://www.lyricsxp.com/lyrics/t/turning_japanese_the_vapors.html

Turing Japanese by the Vapors is about Masturbation. Well that's the rumour I've heard, the lyrics can be construed that way.

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snopes
Return! Return! Return!


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quote:
Hey Jude, running 7:09 minutes was the first single recording to break the approximate 3 minute barrier common on single releases
Nope. Bob Dylan hit the #2 spot in the charts with a six-minute-plus single ("Like a Rolling Stone") three years before "Hey Jude."

- snopes

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Cervus
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by Mari:
quote:
Originally posted by Chimera:

ETA: I think "The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald" was about a boat wreck.

Yes, I think it was an actual historical event, in the late 1970's, IIRC about a year before the song came out.


I think Chimera was being sarcastic. [Wink]

--------------------
"There is no constitutional right to sleep with endangered reptiles." -- Carl Hiaasen
Won't somebody please think of the adults!

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snopes
Return! Return! Return!


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quote:
Hell, every song is about doing drugs, mainly smoking pot.
Well, Paul McCartney did say that "Got to Get You Into My Life" actually was about pot.

- snopes

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snopes
Return! Return! Return!


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quote:
"Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" is not - I repeat: not - about LSD
It's a song whose lyrics are all acid trip-inspired imagery, which is about as close to a "song about LSD" as one can get.

- snopes

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GameSix+ThreeLives
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by snopes:
quote:
"Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" is not - I repeat: not - about LSD
It's a song whose lyrics are all acid trip-inspired imagery, which is about as close to a "song about LSD" as one can get.

- snopes

I know, I know. I mixed up the title with the song itself. Now I'll go sit in the corner and think about what I've done.

-Game " [dunce] " Six

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Santa Mari-a
Happy Holly Days


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quote:
Originally posted by Cervus meow:
quote:
Originally posted by Mari:
quote:
Originally posted by Chimera:

ETA: I think "The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald" was about a boat wreck.

Yes, I think it was an actual historical event, in the late 1970's, IIRC about a year before the song came out.


I think Chimera was being sarcastic. [Wink]
I realized that. But there's no way to tell from the song whether it's a historical or fictitious boat wreck.

--------------------
Si hoc comprehendere potes, gratias age magistro Latinae.

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BlueByrd
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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I'd just like to take this opportunity to thank Red Rose for offering that particular interpretation of '39 - I've spent the past decade vaguely wondering what the NFBSK those lyrics could possibly be about... ^_^
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BoKu
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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I'll respectfully submit that Don Maclean is on record as saying exactly what American Pie means...

Bob "diagonal stability" K.

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JTWildStar
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by Drew:
Turing Japanese by the Vapors is about Masturbation. Well that's the rumour I've heard, the lyrics can be construed that way.

Not to mention "Pictures of Lily" by the Who, "Captain Jack" by Billy Joel, "I Touch Myself" by Divinyls, and "Get a Grip" by Semisonic, to name a few more. I guess that's the second most popular hidden subject of songs (after drugs, of course), although they don't always make much of an effort to disguise it.
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AnglsWeHvHrdOnHiRdr
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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"Captain Jack" isn't about masturbation. It has masturbation *in* it, but that's not really the theme of the song.

Er.

I was just leaving... [Wink]

--------------------
"When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty."--George Bernard Shaw

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Misha
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by UnglRdr:
"Captain Jack" isn't about masturbation. It has masturbation *in* it, but that's not really the theme of the song.

Are you sure? It may be my dirty mind, but I always found it to be kinda obvious that the song was about masturbation. What with the 'pornographic magazine' reference and the very double entendre chorus. Not to mention the double meaning of the word 'jack'.

Misha

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JTWildStar
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by Misha:
quote:
Originally posted by UnglRdr:
"Captain Jack" isn't about masturbation. It has masturbation *in* it, but that's not really the theme of the song.

Are you sure? It may be my dirty mind, but I always found it to be kinda obvious that the song was about masturbation. What with the 'pornographic magazine' reference and the very double entendre chorus. Not to mention the double meaning of the word 'jack'.
I've also heard that the song is really about getting rip-roaring drunk on Jack Daniels whiskey, but masturbation seems the more likely possibility to me.

------------
J.T. "Captain Jack B. Nimble" WildStar

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Johnny Slick
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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Aerosmith's "Big Ten Inch" (one of my favorite songs, I have to say) is, sadly, only about an album of Steven Tyler's that his girlfriend really likes to listen to.

Actually, the entire song is a double entendre, and one of the reasons why it's often problematic to reduce what a song is "about" to a one-sentence summary.

John Craven

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Give big space to the festive dog that makes sport in roadway. Avoid entanglement of dog with wheel spokes.

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The Otter of our Discontent
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by Johnny-Cat Slick:


- "Zoot Suit Riot" by the Cherry Poppin Daddies is about a riot between Mexicans and whites in (I believe) San Francisco in the 1940s. Correct me if I'm wrong there.

The Zoot Suit Riots were mostly between Hispanic Zoot Suiters and white US Navy sailors (and to lesser extent, soldiers & Marines) on shore leave, although there was a report of a white teenager being threatened by a group of black men who thought he was a Zoot Suiter. The pretty much lasted throught the entire summer of 1943, which was mostly ignored by the LAPD, who claimed they didn't have the manpower to battle the riots, allegedly because many police officers had been drafted.

It was briefly alluded to in the WWII comedy, "1941." PBS had an excellent documentary on the event as well.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/zoot/index.html

Back on topic...I've heard that the song "There She Goes" by The La's was about heroin addiction, which the band found hilarious when the more radio friendly and squeaky clean band Sixpence None the Richer decided to cover it.

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jennakatze
Big Hunk o' Love


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A recent NPR broadcast about the U2 exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame makes the claim that "Bullet the Blue Sky" off the Joshua Tree album is about the CIA School of the Americas.

--------------------
You're more than just your outside,
You're also your heart.
-- Mr. Rogers

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Chimera
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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When "99 Red Balloons" came out my parents bought me the 45. It had one side in english the other in another language and neither side made sense. I was told it was about nuclear war. I don't know. Probably should've pulled it back out and listened to it before I posted.

Chim "unprepared" era

--------------------
"The question for joining the protected forum for real magicians should be:

What is the use of women?"
Steve W. from JREF's 'This is no fun'

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Kamino Neko
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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quote:
Originally posted by Chimera:
When "99 Red Balloons" came out my parents bought me the 45. It had one side in english the other in another language

German, which is the original language. (It's called 99 Luftbaloons.)

Tengu Nekogami

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Blueberry, Blackberry, Raspberry, Strawberry
Merry Merry-go-round, Funky Funky Playground

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Sister Ray
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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quote:
Originally posted by The Otter of our Discontent:


http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/zoot/index.html

Back on topic...I've heard that the song "There She Goes" by The La's was about heroin addiction, which the band found hilarious when the more radio friendly and squeaky clean band Sixpence None the Richer decided to cover it.

When was it written? The first time I heard the song, I honestly thought it was a Cowboy Junkies-style massacare of the VU's "There She Goes Again" (which is not about heroin, so shut up). They're eerily similar. Did they actually claim to have written a new song, or did they just pay off the VU to shut them up?

Sister "you're actually making me think!" Ray

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The Organization. Adam Haseeb Memorial Pages. My library.

"There can't be a war on Christmas. Even Cambridge has decorations up!" - an observation I made

Posts: 2719 | From: Chicago, IL | Registered: Jul 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Meowsery Kitten
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by Chimera:
When "99 Red Balloons" came out my parents bought me the 45. It had one side in english the other in another language and neither side made sense. I was told it was about nuclear war. I don't know. Probably should've pulled it back out and listened to it before I posted.

Chim "unprepared" era

It's about nuclear war being started by a red balloon mistaken for an enemy aircraft:

Lyrics

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