Learn the Stories Behind Iconic Songs: The Rolling Stones’ “Miss You,” REM’s “Losing My Religion,” Procol Harum’s “A Whiter Shade of Pale” & More

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There used to be a time when pop lyrics didn’t precisely spark interest, doo-lang doo-lang doo-lang.

They can have tapped into some common teenage emotions, however infrequently impressed additional idea alongside the strains of “Hmm, I ponder what—or who—impressed that.”

Dutch station NPO Radio 2’s interview collection Top 2000 a gogo lifts the veil.

Each access unearths the beginning tale of a widely recognized tune.

The past due Bill Withers, above, intimated that each and every lady he’d even been concerned with idea “Ain’t No Sunshine” used to be about her, when actually, the inspiration used to be the depressing alcoholic couple performed by way of Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick in the 1962 movie Days of Wine and Roses.

Dancing in the Moonlight,” the enduring, extremely catchy hit for King Harvest, paints an endearing image of carefree, cavorting adolescence, however as recounted by way of songwriter Sherman Kelly, the match that ended in its introduction is deserving of a cause caution. Rather than leaning in to the darkness, he conjured a lighthearted scene some distance other from the one he had persisted, a switcheroo that the universe noticed have compatibility to praise.

One don’t need to be the songwriter to be at the heart of a tune’s hidden historical past. Gloria Jones, preacher’s daughter and eventual soulmate to T. Rex’s Marc Bolan, used to be an adolescent when she recorded Ed Cobb’s “Tainted Love,” a tune she disliked owing to the implications of “tainted.” The tune turned into a success in England, because of a sequence of misadventures involving a sailor swapping a .45 for ciggies—a construction that can have had an affect on Jones’ occupation, had any person troubled to tell her. All this to mention, Soft Cell’s 1981 duvet helped put MTV on the map, however it couldn’t have took place with out the youngster who held her nostril and recorded the unique.

Top 2000 is unsurprisingly complete of deep and touching revelations, however Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood’s refusal to take issues significantly could also be welcome. Talk to Mick Jagger if you need affirmation that “Miss You” considerations the frustrations of stardom. According to magnificence clown Wood, and his directly guy drummer Charlie Watts, the tune used to be a cast try to pass with the disco go with the flow. The frustration arose from being caged in a Paris recording studio, slightly ready to duck out for escargot ahead of job grasp Keith Richards cracked the whip to summon them again.

Bittersweet isn’t the adjective we’d make a choice to explain this ancient second, however it gave us all the feels to peer Alan Merrill, whose “I Love Rock n Roll” used to be a reaction to the Stones’ “It’s Only Rock ’n’ Roll,” in addition to a breakthrough hit for Joan Jett. Merrill died of complications from COVID-19 at the finish of March.

Explore extra songs—over 200—on Top 2000 a gogo’s YouTube channel.

Multi-linguists! Contribute translations to help in making the movies to be had international.

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Ayun Halliday is an writer, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine.  Here newest challenge is a series of free downloadable posters, encouraging electorate to put on mask in public and put on them correctly. Follow her @AyunHalliday.

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