Song meanings can often times be overlooked or forgotten. But the meaning of a song is one of the most important parts of music! The purpose of a song is to express a meaning that is special to the artist, but that can also be interpreted in many different ways. But many times, a meaning you associate to a song is so different from the author’s intent that it can be rather surprising. Here are some of the most surprising song meanings for these very popular songs!
1. Hotel California by the Eagles
This song, like many others, has had some pretty diverse interpretations. It has been believed that it is about Satanism and some have even connected it to real hotels or places. Of course interpretation of song meanings varies from person to person; however the writer revealed that it was actually intended to be about the dark side of the American dream and excess in America. Is this how you interpreted the song or were you surprised too?
2. Born in the U.S.a. by Bruce Springsteen
This song sounds pretty patriotic towards America, right? Well apparently it isn’t! I know, I’m just as surprised as you are. This is one of the most misinterpreted songs because it is easy to believe that this would be a patriotic song. It was actually intended to show the mistreatment of the Vietnam veterans returning to America. I hope this doesn’t ruin the feeling of patriotism you get from this song!
3. In the Air Tonight by Phil Collins
Many different interpretations of this song have come out over time, mostly about drowning. This was probably because of the line, "If you told me you were drowning, I would not lend a hand." But Collins revealed that this is merely symbolic, and the song is actually about his divorce from his wife. Surprised?
4. Mr. Crowley by Ozzy Osbourne
Whenever I would hear this song, I admit that I never thought about the meaning. I just liked the tune and Osbourne’s voice. So I was very surprised to learn that Mr. Crowley was a real man! Aleister Crowley was notorious for his "evilness" and interest in black magic. Although I am surprised by the meaning, it doesn’t surprise me that Ozzy Osbourne would make a song about him!
5. Mr. Tambourine Man by Bob Dylan
Despite popular belief that this song was about drugs, it was actually inspired by a really big tambourine. No I’m not joking. Dylan explained that he got the idea for the song when Bruce Langhorne started playing on a huge tambourine. Weird and surprising... but kind of cool!
6. Every Breath You Take by the Police
This song is usually thought of as a slow, sweet, and romantic song. It has been used as wedding songs and is usually viewed as a love song. Unfortunately, it’s actually about an obsessive stalker. I was pretty upset when I found this out simply because I used to really like this song. Now I can’t help but feel a bit creeped out every time it plays!
7. I Am the Walrus by the Beatles
This song by The Beatles has confused more than a few listeners. With lyrics like "I am the walrus," who wouldn’t be confused? Although there have been many proposed meanings, John Lennon, the writer, revealed that all he was trying to do was write a confusing song. It is composed of various lines from nursery rhymes and other strange things so he did his job well. I’m sure John Lennon got a kick out of his scholars trying to figure out the meaning of this song!
Pretty surprising, right? It goes to show you that people can really interpret things differently! It all depends on who you are and what you want a song to mean. Did you think these song meanings were surprising? Do you know of any other meanings these songs could imply?