Which Beatles song describes your life?

20 songs and their stories behind them: life wrote these world hits

How does a successful pop song actually come about? Musicians go into the studio, strum instruments, try, improvise and wait for inspiration?

Sometimes it does - but rarely. Most of the super hits are written in life. They have stories. Sad and tragic, weird and curious ...

20 world hits - and what's behind them!

1. NEIL DIAMOND "Sweet Caroline"

The US singer Neil Diamond was completely fascinated by the cover of an American magazine in 1962. It showed a five-year-old girl in rider's clothing on his pony macaroni - it was Caroline Kennedy, the cute daughter of US President John F. Kennedy. An optical inspiration that had a lasting effect. Because: Seven years later, Neil Diamond wrote a song about it: "Sweet Caroline". One of his greatest hits. However, it was almost forty years before the singer and Caroline met for the first time (2007).

2. ABBA "Dancing Queen"

Is the legendary song (1976) about Queen Silvia of Sweden? Or is it just a homage to you? ABBA insiders believe: The Swedish band describes in the song how Sweden King Carl XVI. Gustaf (apparently) got to know and love the German Olympic hostess Silvia Sommerlath. Her pop version: Silvia would have laughed at the king in the discotheque ... "See that girl, watch that scene / Diggin’ the dancing queen ". The day before the couple's wedding, ABBA performed the song for the first time in public - Gustaf and Silvia were guests of honor. The hit was number one in 15 countries.

3. VAN HALEN "Jump"

The lyrics to the song are by singer David Lee Roth. He had the basic idea when he saw a suicide on the roof of the Arco Tower in Los Angeles on the television news that evening, who apparently wanted to take his own life. The camera shows passers-by standing at the bottom of the tower and screaming: “Don't jump!” Meanwhile, David Lee Roth thinks to himself on the telly: “Do it and just jump ...” It was the inspiration for “Jump”! In 1984 the song was in the German top 10 for 16 weeks.

4. NIRVANA "Smells Like Teen Spirit"

A “nice” song from 1991, literally. The girlfriend of band singer Kurt Cobain was Tobi Vail, drummer for Bikini Kill (US punk band). And she used the “Teen Spirit” deodorant. Even after the two were long apart, the singer is said to have still smelled of it. This annoyed a musician friend so much that she sprayed "Kurt smells like Teen Spirit" on the bedroom wall in Cobain's apartment. Cobain was so inspired by it that he wrote the song "Smells like Teen Spirit". He had initially suspected a deeper meaning in the slogan. It wasn't until months after the title was published that he realized that it was only about his ex's deodorant.

5. BEATLES "Ticket To Ride"

How this ambiguous title came about has not really been conclusively clarified to this day. One story, however, persists: John Lennon, the group's charismatic singer, was often on the road in Hamburg in the mid-1960s. Also on the famous Reeperbahn. The peculiarity back then: Many whores had cards in their hands that said they were healthy and had no contagious diseases. This prostitute's health card is said to have brought Lennon to the slippery song title “Ticket to ride”.

6. TOTO "Rosanna"

Her name was just a hit. The girlfriend of Toto keyboardist Steve Porcaro at the time was called Rosanna Arquette. And because the US band found this first name so beautiful and particularly suitable for refrains, they promptly chose it as the title for a song they had already composed (1982). The storyline, however, has nothing to do with the name giver of the title. Still: Rosanna herself hates the song a lot, revealed founding member Jeff Porcaro in a radio interview. But he doesn't really care ...

7. BANGLES "Eternal Flame"

Singer Susanna Hoffs got the idea for the song while visiting Graceland, the estate of Elvis Presley (†). In later interviews she said: “We were there in the Garden of Memories, and there was a box with a small flame in it. However, it rained that day and the flame was out. Yet it is a flame that should actually burn forever - an Eternal Flame. Anyway, I thought to myself: Hey, that's a good title for a song. ”It became a super hit (1989).

8. ELTON JOHN "Crocodile Rock"

The Briton "invented" the song in 1972 in the bathtub. After a long tour through Asia and Australia, he was urgently looking for a good mood song. He was thinking of the hits "Eagle Rock" or "Adler Rock" by the group Daddy Cool, which he had heard in Australia, but also of rock 'n' roll classics such as "See You Later, Alligator" by Bill Haley. He also remembered his wild youth, especially his love for a girl Suzie and a dance called "Crocodile Rock" - the song was born!

9. GEORGE HARRISON "My Sweet Lord"

The ex-Beatle dealt intensively with Far Eastern religions, traveled to India and visited spiritual masters. He searched for inner truths, looked for answers to life's questions: “Who am I, why am I here and where is my path leading me?” All of this finally inspired Harrison to the song “My Sweet Lord”, in which both Christian "Hallelujah" as well as the Hindu "Hare Krishna" can be heard. A kind of musical meditation - with "resurrection" in the charts.

10. WHAM! "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go"

George Michael and Andrew Ridgely met in elementary school in the English town of Bushey - Andrew's mother was a strict teacher there. In the family home, both recorded their first songs and had minor successes. Andrew still lived with his parents anyway. One evening he stuck a note on the door of his nursery for his mother: "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go". When his friend George Michael visited him the next day, the note was still there. And gave George the idea of ​​the title! He did not “get bogged down” with it. It became a top hit (1984)!

11. MANFRED MANN "Do Wah Diddy"

The phrase "Do Wah Diddy" comes from US comedian Jack Benny. In a TV show, he had a guest look for the town of Do Wah Diddy on a map. But this city didn't even exist. The word creation became a running gag on the show. In 1955, blues legend Bo Diddley wrote a song called "Diddy Wah Diddy". Content: This is not a city at all, but a girl. The song in turn inspired composers Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich in 1963 to produce a title of the same name. In England, Manfred Mann's crew finally became aware of this - and turned it into a mega-hit.

12. ROLLING STONES Satisfaction "

The song came to Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards in his sleep. At night, far away from home, in a hotel in Florida, the Englishman briefly nodded off. When he woke up again, he sang the scraps of melody he had just dreamed of, drunk with sleep, into the microphone of his cassette recorder - just so as not to forget them. Keith Richards "stole" the title line from the hit "30 Days" by his favorite musician Chuck Berry. The "Lullaby" became the first worldwide number one hit for the Stones in 1965.

13. ROBERTA FLACK Killing Me Softly With His Song "

Roberta Flack listened to the on-board music program on the plane and suddenly heard a song by the unknown singer Lori Lieberman: "Killing Me Softly With His Song". The song is about a singer who sings about the life of another person and seems to know everything about that person. Roberta Flack was thrilled. Immediately after landing, she and her producer went looking for the singer. With success. She finally recorded a new, her own version of this song - and landed her biggest hit ever (1973).

14. BOB MARLEY No Woman No Cry "

Mid-1970s, in the Jamaican capital Kingston. Bob Marley is sitting with his friend Vincent in an old cabin in the slum Trenchtown, both smoking a joint. You grew up here. It's dirty and loud in the ghetto, especially at night. The couple who are neighbors also quarrel and scream all the time. Usually the woman (Puncie Saunders) cries for hours afterwards. Since the friends are very fond of Puncie, they write her a song in the kitchen at night to comfort her. The refrain is: "No girl, don't cry" - "No Woman No Cry". It will be a world hit.


The panic rocker wrote the song in 1986 in a hotel room in Timmendorfer Strand - in a rather sad mood. Because: Shortly before, his long-time companion and private secretary Gabi Blitz had died of a drug overdose at the age of only 33. Wistful and inspired by the wide view of the Baltic Sea, the idea for the ballad “Horizont” emerges. The text says: Udo and Gabi were “a couple like thunder and lightning”. And it goes on, even after death - beyond the horizon.

16. DEEP PURPLE "Smoke On The Water"

At the end of 1971, Deep Purple was in Montreux (Switzerland). The British band wanted to record a new album here. Your quarters: a house that belonged to the casino there. On December 4th, Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention performed there in the casino - and it came to an inferno. A fan had shot a signal pistol at the ceiling of the hall. The entire casino caught fire, everything was destroyed. The smoke that spread over Lake Geneva during this major fire could be observed by Deep Purple in the hotel - it was ultimately the title inspiration for their global success.

17. BOOMTOWN RATS "I Don't Like Mondays"

It was Bob Geldof's greatest success with his band Boomtown Rats. It "came about" through some insane act: on January 29, 1979, a Monday, 16-year-old Brenda Ann Spencer shot out of a window in her parents' house at the nearby Grover Cleveland Elementary School in San Diego. She had a semi-automatic rifle and used it to kill the headmaster and the caretaker. One policeman and eight students were injured. As a reason for her act, she said when she was arrested: "I don’t like mondays. This livens up the day. ”(I don't like Mondays. This enlivens the day.) Geldof was the spontaneous inspiration for this song.

18. ERIC CLAPTON "Tears In Heaven"

Eric Clapton's most successful single (3 Grammys) is also his saddest. The song has a tragic background. In the ballad, the singer deals with the accidental death of his four-year-old son Conor. The boy fell from a window on the 53rd floor of an apartment building in New York City on March 20, 1991. The child was in the apartment with his mother, the Italian actress Lori del Santo, and a housekeeper. When she was cleaning the windows she had left one of them open to ventilate. The playing boy fell through this window onto a neighboring building. He died instantly. Eric Clapton had been staying at a nearby hotel at the time.

19. NENA "99 balloons"

On September 15, 1965, the Rolling Stones give their first concert in Berlin in the Waldbühne. This leads to tumults and fights. There are 70 injured. When the Stones performed there again many years later, in 1982, they wanted to set a sign of peacefulness. At the end of their show, they let countless balloons rise into the sky. The fans are thrilled, including Carlo Karges, the guitarist for Nena. He looks after the balloon grapes that are just drifting towards East Berlin. He wonders how the NVA border guards and GDR people's police would react to this. And writes a song about it: "99 Luftballons" (1983). It will be one of the most successful pop songs of all time!

20. PIERO UMILIANI "Mah Na Mah Na"

The song, best known from Sesame Street, comes from the soft porn "Sweden - Hell or Paradise?" (1968). The Italian Piero Umiliani had composed the music for it. The only problem: In the end, he was still missing five minutes of music for a scene in which naked Swedes talk in the sauna. Then he spontaneously came up with the idea of ​​“Mah Na Mah Na”, a nonsense text. The sex film was later exported to the United States, where a producer brought out "Mah Na Mah Na" as a single. A huge success! Later, in 1973, the song was discovered for Sesame Street - and even more famous.