The Origins Behind 5 Classic Songs

Music can inspire us in a number of different ways. But have you ever thought about the meaning behind some of your favorite classic songs? You may know every word to a song, but do you really know what message the artist is trying to get across?

(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction – The Rolling Stones

The classic song may be more than 50 years old, but did you know that it almost never happened? It was by chance that Keith Richards recorded the song’s classic guitar riff while he was on a booze and drug-fueled bender. When Richards woke up with a nasty hangover afterward, he didn’t even remember recording anything at all. But his cassette recorder captured the beginning of one of the most popular rock songs of all time. The great thing about Richards’ story is that the next morning the song still sounded as great as it did the night before.

In a Gadda Da Vida – Iron Butterfly

The strange and mysterious song that was released in 1968 was Iron Butterfly’s one and only hit. The entire song lasts for 17 minutes and it was recorded when the singer was not entirely sober, not that that’s surprising.

The words “In a gadda da vida” are sung at the beginning and the end of the song. And in the middle it is mostly an instrumental track. Which is probably a good thing since the singer was either drunk, high or both during the recording. He slurred the words “In the garden of eden” and what you are hearing when you listen to the song wasn’t supposed to be recorded at all. It was just a soundcheck. The producer of the album had not arrived at the time and the band was basically fooling around in the studio while the engineer was rolling tape. At the end of the day, he decided that it sounded pretty good, whatever “in a gadda da vida” was supposed to be.

The accidental hit and the true meaning behind it has sparked plenty of debate over the years and many people have speculated that it has some dark and satanic meaning to it. But it turns out it was just another case of a drunk rock star accidently making a hit single.

Green Onions – Booker T and The MGs

This song was recorded in 1962 and is probably one of the most popular tracks by the band. This was once again another account where the band was playing around in the studio waiting for the actual recording session to start. They were actually waiting for a rockabilly singer to come in and do a jingle. The band was in Stax Records in Memphis and the singer was running late, so they were playing around with music as they waited. Booker T had been playing the piano piece and tried it out on an organ. The engineer was rolling tape the entire time. The result is a classic song that was released as a B side single.

Burning Down the House – Talking Heads

The lead singer of the Talking Heads, David Byrne, was known for creating songs that had a “mumble track” and the 1984 hit “Burning Down the House” was no exception. He would mumble syllables and words, whatever fit the line of the melody. It wasn’t meant to make sense. In the case of this song however, the mumble track worked so well with the lines they decided to keep it in the song. So if you have ever wondered what they were saying while listening to the song, don’t worry, the singer doesn’t even know what he was saying.

A Day in the Life – The Beatles

For the most part, The Beatles were very considerate about the music they created, but the 1967 song, “A Day in the Life” was actually two songs that were put together as one.

Lennon and McCartney each had half of a song and didn’t know how to finish them. They put them both together in the studio. Essentially they weren’t sure how the song was going to work out, with John’s lyrics referring to stories that were ripped from the headlines and Paul’s lyrics about his commute to school many years ago. So they had their studio assistants count out the bars and set an alarm clock to signal that it was time to transition from John to Paul. In the end, the alarm clock could not be edited out and it became the perfect lead to Paul’s line “Woke up, fell out of bed…”