Since the dawn of time, music has been used as a vehicle to present messages, ideals, stories and beliefs to a wider audience. From religious hymns intended to sing the praises of their deities, to protest music that supports social causes, music has always been intended to be meaningful. Famous songs that show clear feeling and purpose include John Lennon’s “Imagine,” Edwin Starr’s “War,” and Pat Benatar’s “Hell is For Children,” to name a few.
Some might argue that a lyrically significant oversaturation of the music made it harder for gifted lyricists to stand out from the crowd. For this reason, a handful of musicians have begun to hide the true meaning of their music behind thin veils of mystery. While this is a tantalizing tactic, it sometimes confuses fans who completely miss the song’s appeal, as we’ll see here.
From Dave Mustaine’s eerily graphic description of a car, to love songs that are actually about dying, here are ten famous rock (and metal) songs that people have completely misunderstood.
Released as a single in 1987, this trailblazing rap rock track remains a timeless, timeless classic to this day. Originally featured as a regular track on the Beastie Boys’ debut album “Licensed to Ill” in 1986, the song quickly gained traction with listeners and was released as a single the following year. However, the meaning behind the song has been completely lost on the majority of the audience.
Written by the band’s founding member, MCA, and his friend Tommy Triphammer, “Fight For Your Right” was originally intended to be a parody of edgy party songs that had emerged from the glam rock scene as casters. In truth, the song ended up aligning with party tunes like Twisted Sister’s “I Wanna Rock” instead of rebelling against them. In future interviews, MCA would express a dislike for the song, saying it inadvertently turned the Beastie Boys into the only thing they laughed at, because people just didn’t understand what it was about.
The unexpected success of the hit single took everyone by surprise, including the band themselves. “Fight For Your Right” reached the top 10 on five different singles charts around the world, received silver certification in the UK and is one of the band’s most recognizable tracks to date.