5 Songs With Weird Backstories

Ever wondered about the story behind some of the world’s most popular rock songs? I did some research, and put together a small list of what I found were the most bizarre. I’ll never hear them the same way again…

“Every Breath You Take” – The Police

117898460Most fans assume this is a sweet love song about someone who’s beyond infatuated with their partner…so much so, that they simply cannot stand to be apart from them. But according to Sting, the track is a bit darker than that. He wrote it during the aftermath of his divorce from his first wife, Frances Tomelty, and during the beginning of his relationship with Trudie Styler. (The women were best friends — yikes.)

In reality, the song is about a possessive lover who is obsessed with his ex. He becomes jealous of everything she does without him, so as a result, he watches her every move.

“One couple told me ‘Oh we love that song; it was the main song played at our wedding!’ I thought, ‘Well, good luck’. I think the song is very, very sinister and ugly and people have actually misinterpreted it as being a gentle little love song, when it’s quite the opposite.” – Sting

So, if someone crushing on you sends you this song…run.

“Total Eclipse Of the Heart” – Bonnie Tyler

total_freakin_eclipse-1Written by composer Jim Steinman in 1983, this song, paired with its haunting music video (left), is actually about vampires. (I love vampires, so I now love this song even more.) The original title was “Vampires In Love,” as it was composed for a Nosferatu musical. When Jim first played the song for Bonnie, it sent shivers down her spine. She was eager to get in the studio and record it as soon as possible. The song was originally seven minutes at full-length, but Bonnie cut it down to four minutes for radio-play. Jim said in an interview that the song is about “the darkness, the power of darkness and love’s place in the dark.”

Why wasn’t this song featured in Twilight?! Talk about a missed opportunity.

“Smoke On the Water” – Deep Purple

1-QrmtM44Us4r6ihV69Btl6wOn December 4, 1971, Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention were playing a show at the Montreux Casino in Switzerland. About halfway through the gig, some crazy person in the crowd fired a flare gun at the wooden roof. It immediately went up in flames, and panic ensued. All of Zappa’s band equipment was destroyed. Nearby, the members of Deep Purple were recording music for their upcoming album. According to npr, “They were forced out of their rooms by the fire, but memories of the smoke billowing out across Lac Leman, or Lake Geneva, gave them a song title.”

Turns out, this go-to guitar track has a more somber history than you might have thought.

“Never Learn Not To Love/Cease To Exist” – The Beach Boys

the-beach-boys-never-kearn-not-to-love-capitolCharles Manson was an American criminal and cult leader in the 60’s. Manson and his followers, known as the “Manson Family,” committed a series of seven murders, all part of Charles masterplan to spark a race war.

Before the murders, Charles was a struggling singer-songwriter living in L.A. He became friends with Dennis Wilson, drummer and founding member of the Beach Boys, and in 1968, the group recorded one of Manson’s original songs, “Cease to Exist.” The Beach Boys re-titled the track “Never Learn Not to Love,” altered some of the lyrics, and released it as their own.

Try listening to THAT song in the same way. Creepy.

“Smells Like Teen Spirit” – Nirvana

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“Teen Spirit” was a popular deodorant brand in the 90’s, and you can still buy it! The title of this iconic song came from Kathleen Hanna, (a member of the band Bikini Kill) who wrote on Kurt Cobain’s wall one night. She gratified “Kurt smells like Teen Spirit,” teasing him and referencing the deodorant brand that Cobain’s girlfriend wore. When Nevermind was released in 1991 with this track on it, sales skyrocketed for Teen Spirit Deodorant.

 

“He actually didn’t know it was a deodorant. I felt like a bit of an asshole that I didn’t tell him, but I kinda thought it was funny. He just liked the ring of it, smells like Teen Spirit, but he also just had a good knack for picking out interesting phrases.” -Kathleen Hanna

Kurt Cobain totally gave Teen Spirit deodorant free PR without even knowing it!

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HOW TO: Create a Music Time Capsule

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetLike I’ve said so many times before on my blog, music/songs can represent memories. Listening to a specific song can bring back so many good memories from various times in your life!

For this post, I decided to do a something a little different. I’m a very sentimental person, and I also absolutely love time capsules. I have so many hidden around my house–one from kindergarten that I’m supposed to open when I graduate from college, one for when I graduate from high school, and one I’m set to open in just a few weeks. Because I love time capsules so much, I decided to combine my love of memorabilia with my passion for music & its power to spark memories.

In this post, I’m going to show you how to create your very own music time capsule. You can decide to open it whenever you want–during a major life milestone, next year, whatever. When you open this time capsule, it will help you remember the music you loved and the memories that you made because of it. It makes your memories a bit more tangible, and is super fun to hide, then discover later. Read on to find out how you can fossilize your favorite artists and albums.

THE IDEA: If you’ve never made a time capsule before, the idea is to find a box or some sort of container, and fill it with significant objects that will spark memories when you open it years later. Ideally, you are supposed forget what’s in the box until you open it. Decide on a specific date or a certain year that you would like to open it, and mark it on the outside, then HIDE IT. Don’t open it, touch it, or peek until your target date.

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9 ideas of what to put inside:

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset1. Tickets from past concerts.

Collect tickets from a few (or one) of the best concerts you’ve attended. On the back, write who went to the concert with you. That way, you can call your friend and reminisce about that perfect night after you open your capsule.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset2. Concert & festival bracelets.

These are so much fun to look at years later. Try to save them instead of throwing them away after the concert/festival you attended. I kept my V.I.P. bracelet from when I met The Wanted.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset3. A lotion or small lip gloss that you wore the night of your favorite concert.

Scent evokes strong memories. One sniff of a perfume that you wore the night you met your favorite band will transport you right back to the moment you finally hugged them.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset4. Pictures, pictures, pictures!

Throw in pictures you snapped of your favorite singer on stage, at meet-and-greets, and of you and your friends after/during concerts. One thing that’s super fun to include: Pictures of your reactions after a concert, or after meeting your favorite band/singer. Make it habit to snap a picture of you and your friends after each concert–you’ll have genuine smiles and you’ll capture the excitement of the night on camera. (In the picture below, on the right, you will see a picture of my friend and me after we met Ed Sheeran. We were a little excited…)

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset5. Buttons, stickers, articles and other mementos.

Cut out an article of an interview or photo shoot with favorite singer, and include it in your time capsule. You’ll love reading it years later, and it will help you remember why you loved that particular artist so much. Stickers, buttons and notes are always fun to look at, too.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset6. Albums, album booklets, or a flash drive.

In 10 years, or whenever you decide to open this time capsule, the world may not be using CDs anymore. Putting your favorite album on a flash drive is probably good idea. If you want, though, go ahead and include a whole CD (if you can fit it inside).

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset7. Fan letters.

Make a point to scan and save letters you write to your favorite band member (before you give them away). Or you still have a letter for your fave that you hope to give them one day, consider putting it in your time capsule. (Obviously if you end up meeting the artist/band, you can still take it out and give it to them.) I scanned the letters I gave to The Wanted when I met them, and it’s fun (if a bit cringe-worthy) to read them now. 🙂

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8. A description of your favorite concert, or concert moment.

Write out your favorite concert moment, then read it out loud to someone who went to the concert with you when you take it out of your time capsule years later. Even if you’re not much of a writer, jot down some bullet points and key moments you want to remember.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset9. Tweets.

You know those embarrassing, adoring tweets you’ve sent to your favorite singers? Print them out! Have you ever gotten a reply? Print it out! You will LOVE seeing them years later when you open your time capsule. Plus, who knows if we will even have Twitter in the future? Your tweets will seem so “retro”!

Hope you enjoyed this post! Tweet me pictures of YOUR music time capsules! (@sophersc)