Saturday, May 16, 2015

Some stories behind popular songsmarley

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English punk rock band the Sex Pistols released the song “Pretty Vacant” as their third single. It gained attention because of Johnny Rotten’s phrasing of the word “vacant”. He deliberately placed the emphasis on the last syllable so that he could use the C word on radio. (Much like Graham Kennedy’s infamous crow call – “Faaaark” – in 1975 that saw the Australian Broadcasting Commission require his shows to henceforth be prerecorded).

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Woody Guthrie wrote the song “This Land is Your Land” when he became fed up at continuously hearing Irvinng Berlin’s “God Bless America”, lyrics as follows:

God Bless America 
"While the storm clouds gather far across the sea, 
Let us swear allegiance to a land that's free, 
Let us all be grateful for a land so fair, 
As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer. " 

God Bless America, 
Land that I love. 
Stand beside her, and guide her 
Thru the night with a light from above. 
From the mountains, to the prairies, 
To the oceans, white with foam 
God bless America, My home sweet home.

Guthrie wrote his song in 1940 and recorded it in 1944. Originally it included additional lyrics with critical views on poverty and on property rights, Guthrie being a communist.

His 1944 lyrics:

This land is your land, this land is my land
From California to the New York Island
From the Redwood Forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and me.

As I was walking that ribbon of highway
I saw above me that endless skyway
I saw below me that golden valley
This land was made for you and me.

I roamed and I rambled and I followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts
While all around me a voice was sounding
This land was made for you and me.

When the sun came shining, and I was strolling
And the wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling
A voice was chanting, As the fog was lifting,
This land was made for you and me.

This land is your land, this land is my land
From California to the New York Island
From the Redwood Forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and me.

The additional verses sometimes sung by Guthrie:

There was a big high wall there that tried to stop me;
Sign was painted, it said private property;
But on the back side it didn't say nothing;
This land was made for you and me.

In the squares of the city, In the shadow of a steeple;
By the relief office, I'd seen my people.
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking,
Is this land made for you and me?

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Bob Marley’s girlfriend, Esther Anderson, has stated that the "Sheriff" referred to in “I Shot the Sheriff” was the doctor who was prescribing birth control pills for her. Marley wanted to have a child with her and thought that the birth control was sinful, hence the lyric:

Sheriff John Brown always hated me,
For what, I don't know:
Every time I plant a seed,
He said kill it before it grow

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John Lennon received a letter from a student at Quarry Bank High School, his old school, that an English master was making the class study and analyse Beatles’ lyrics. He wrote “I am the Walrus” with gibberish lyrics, declaring “Let the fuckers work that one out.”

Sample lyrics:

Sitting on a cornflake waiting for the van to come
Corporation tee shirt, stupid bloody Tuesday
Man you been a naughty boy. You let your face grow long
I am the eggman, they are the eggmen
I am the walrus, goo goo g' joob

Mister City Policeman sitting, pretty little policemen in a row
See how they fly like Lucy in the sky, see how they run
I'm crying, I'm crying
I'm crying, I'm crying

Yellow matter custard dripping from a dead dog's eye
Crabalocker fishwife pornographic priestess
Boy you been a naughty girl, you let your knickers down
I am the eggman, they are the eggmen
I am the walrus, goo goo g' joob

By the way: Lennon adopted the image of the walrus from the Lewis Carroll poem The Walrus and the Carpenter. He later expressed dismay when he found out that the walrus was in fact the bad guy in the poem.

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Whilst on Beatles’ songs, “Ticket to Ride”, according to Paul McCartney, was a British Rail ticket to Ryde. Bullshit. John Lennon offered an alternative explanation: early in their career the Beatles played and performed in Hamburg, Germany. A “ticket to ride” was slang for cards carried by Hamburg prostitutes indicating a clean bill of health carried by Hamburg prostitutes in the 1960s. “ride” and “riding” was slang for having sex.


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