15 Famous Songs With Misunderstood Meanings


These songs were destined to be great. While we were enjoying them, we simply ignored and somehow misunderstood the story behind these songs. We are far too caught up in the amazing sounds that these famous songs and artists produced. Some of us have taken these songs at face value and tend not to listen to their lyrics properly. We have kind of ignored the intent of the artists who had created these awesome songs. Some of the songs included on this list were somehow was or maybe still our favorites. With that being said, we are here to learn the truth about these famous songs and hopefully it won’t shatter your world.

15. “London Calling” – The Clash

Probably most people thought that this song was all about promoting London. That you should go on a trip and visit the place. Though the fact that the song has been actually featured in several tourism and airline commercials.

But the song has more of an apocalyptic tone to it. It details how the world could possibly end and it could end in a lot of different ways. This was the song that justified of what kind of a band The Clash is.  A perfect punk rock song from a perfect punk rock band.

Most of the lyrics of this song came from news reports, Joe Strummer was a news addict, he couldn’t help it and always gets paranoid about what he sees or reads on the news. Even the title came from a news radio station “BBC World Service’s radio station: This is London calling” where the station used the phrase during World War II.

14. “Blackbird” – The Beatles

We all thought that this song was about a blackbird whose wings were broken and yet, we were dead wrong. Paul McCartney stated that this song was written about the civil rights of blacks and about the race riots in the United States.

Paul McCartney thought that it would be a great idea using blackbird as a symbol for black people. It was all about the struggles of African Americans who were yearning to break free and have the same ground of equal rights as anyone else.

This song can get as simple as it can be with a validity in the essence of art. It is definitely astonishingly sweet as an anthemic gem.

 13. “American Girl” – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

A song that never became a hit or tops any charts but certainly became one of their most popular songs. Most people thought that this song was about suicide. That was just an urban legend. There’s even a possibility that anyone can interpret this as a tribute to all American Girls.

Tom Petty said it himself that this song was written in a little apartment he had. An apartment next to a freeway, there were cars passing that he sometimes thought sounded like waves from the ocean. He was inspired by that sound.

However, Tom Petty, as a very private individual who always kind of guarding about what and who he writes about, the meaning behind the lyrics of the song will remain a mystery. We should just respect his privacy and enjoy his music.

12. “Summer of ’69” – Bryan Adams

The fact that Bryan Adams was just only a 10-year-old boy during the summer of 1969 the number definite doesn’t add up. We could have all interpreted it as maybe of how Adams wishes he could be in the summer of 69 and how it was a great summer.

But this song was actually a reference to the old’69er sexual position. Bryan Adams seemingly admitted it and he could not believe that no one got it. Sounds cheesy, right? But the song is still blissfully great and definitely one of Bryan Adams best. Makes you want to get up and do some unforgettable things because, in life, you only have limited time.

11. “Born in the USA” – Bruce Springsteen


Another song that we all thought about pride for being born in the United States of America. Who could have thought that this song was a protest against the Vietnam War and how they treated the soldiers who fought against the Viets. These Vietnam War Veterans received a grotesque treatment from the Government back then.

These were American Soldiers, who fought for their country like they were made to. Returning home from war, these soldiers were spat upon and received a hate treatment for just doing exactly what they were forced to do. This was Bruce Springsteen was trying to say in this song. The Vietnam War Veterans received no heroes’ treatment.

And here’s the hurtful fact, today, one-third of the homeless in the United States are Vietnam Vets.

10. “Imagine” – John Lennon

John Lennon’s concept of this song was widely misunderstood. Some people had thought that it was against in all different cultures. Religions, politics, etc.

Critics never took this song as a message. A message that all cultures could get along with each other. Imagine if we could get over ourselves and live for what’s really important. Haven’t you all noticed that most of the reason why a war always start is that of our differences? Religion, Countries, and Money if there was none of these there would definitely be no war.

This song is wistfully asking and hoping for world peace, it’s not an idea of communistic. Imagine it, if we could only live in a world without the existence of selfishness that a person has, that would be great, right? That’s the very idea of the song.

9. “Every Breath You Take” – The Police

The thing is this isn’t really a love song and certainly one of the most misunderstood songs ever. Misinterpreting it because of its sound, it has the tone alike to a love song and because of that, it became the biggest hit of 1983.

The frontman of the band was inspired writing this song after he and his first wife separated. He explained during his interview with the ‘New Musical Express’ in 1983 that the song is rather evil. It talks about jealousy, surveillance (stalking), and ownership (obsession). It’s pretty hilarious if some people may use it as their wedding song. It has a very loving tone but the meaning of it could possibly damage the wedding.

 8. “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” – The Beatles

Probably most people got this song all wrong. It’s not about getting high on LSD. And if you could have possibly done LSD while listening to this, you would somehow tell that this song is something like that (but it’s not).

The song was inspired by a certain person, named Lucy O’Donell who happened to be the classmate of John Lennon’s son ‘Julian Lennon’ at the Heath House School, in Weybridge, Surrey.

During his interview in 1975, Lennon said,

Julian came in one day with a picture about a school friend of his named Lucy. He had sketched in some stars in the sky and called it Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds.

The identity of Lucy was confirmed later on by Julian when sadly she died in 2009 because of complications from Lupus.

 7. “Stairway to Heaven” – Led Zeppelin

We have all wondered for decades for who this song is written for. The most popular rock song of all time. People over the decades have interpreted this one in different ways, some might say it is satanic and some might say it’s about religion and some might add that it’s basically based on the famous fantasy novel of J.R.R. Tolkien ‘The Lord of the Rings Series’. It sounds pretty weird, right?

But as much as we tend to try to explain it in our own way, the real meaning of it would only be explained by the ones who wrote it. Robert Plant explained that the song was about ‘a woman getting everything she wanted without giving anything back.’ So, the plausible explanation of this could be about ‘MATERIALISM’.

 6. “One” – U2

The song that has many meanings, one is that it could be about brotherhood, it could be about a country, relating to the reunification of Germany. Possibly the closest one is the dissolution of the marriage of The Edge to Aislinn O’Sullivan.

One thing is for sure, the song is certainly not a love song. Well, kinda. It’s about two people who love each other but tend to hurt each other repeatedly. It will kind of remind you of someone you know or maybe you are in that kind of situation already.

So, in that being said, not every song like this one is about romantic relationships between two people. There’s always a story behind.

 5. “Hotel Calfornia” – Eagles


This is definitely the most iconic songs by The Eagles. It’s not only a chart-topper but also won a Grammy Award for Record of the Year. A lot of interpretations about this song has been going on for years. Some have concluded that it talks about the Satanic religion of Anton LaVey, but it is not.

The song is all about the excess in America and the hendonism in the music industry. It refers to the materialism and the State of California was used as the setting and it could relate anywhere in the Country. Probably someone has always taken this song to be somewhat literal.

 4. “American Woman” – The Guess Who

People thought that this song was a tribute to every American Woman. But it’s actually an anti-American anthem. It talks about the clubs/bars and casinos that people get addicted to.

It refers to being Americanized and the title could be seen as a symbolic reference to The Statue of Liberty.  The Guess Who being Canadian and all, their country has not gone down the same path as the US think about it.  Similar lifestyle but can be differentiated in many ways. And I guess, it fits in today’s world well enough. Seems like that we are not learning and we had never learned anything from history.

 3. “Tutti Frutti” – Little Richard


Most of us have probably heard this song once or twice when we were kids and kind of didn’t think too much about it. It seems that the song is kinda fun as you listen to it. But if you really listen to the lyrics carefully, you’ll notice that the song is all kind of rough in which Little Richard went through.

Little Richard talks about of how he was inspired to write the song, he was working as a dishwasher at a bus station in Macon, Georgia in which it is his hometown.

He told Rolling Stone Magazine during his interview in 1995,

“I couldn’t talk back to my boss man. He would bring all these pots back for me to wash, and one day I said, ‘I’ve got to do something to stop this man bringing back all these pots to me to wash,’ and I said, ‘Awap bop a lup bop a wop bam boom, take ’em out!’ and that’s what I meant at the time. And so I wrote ‘Tutti Frutti’ in the kitchen, I wrote ‘Good Golly Miss Molly’ in the kitchen, I wrote ‘Long Tall Sally’ in that kitchen.”

 2. “Money For Nothing” – Dire Straits

Generically became the rock anthem for MTV. Some people thought that the entire song is a portrayal of the electronics guy who seems to be an ignorant bigot. Showing his true attitude towards the musicians that he often sees on MTV.

They misunderstood it completely, seems like they have missed the entire point of the song. This song talks about the ROCKSTAR excess and the way it gives an easy life compared to the people who are really working hard to earn their living. Mark Knopfler was inspired after overhearing the conversations of delivery men in a department store in New York. Seems these workers were complaining about their jobs while watching MTV. Many of the lyrics that Mark Knopfler had written for the song were the things that the workers actually said.

 1. “My Sharona” – The Knack

Everyone thought that this song talks about an amazing woman who’s not only beautiful but has a caring and loving heart. If you haven’t heard or read the story about this song, oh man, you’ll be shocked.

The song is about a girl in which Doug Fieger (lead singer and writer of the song) fancied. He walks into a clothing store and all of a sudden fell in love with the girl behind the counter. It’s not pretty disturbing, right? What’s wrong with falling in love? Nothing…

Well, it’s disturbing because for one thing, the girl ‘My Sharona’ was only 17 years of age. You didn’t realize that, didn’t you? You seem to enjoy this song and dance along with it with your friends without realizing the meaning of it is pretty troublesome.