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You Might Love These 6 Popular Songs…But Do You Know Their Stories?

Is there any popular song you can’t get out of your head?

Music is one of the 7 arts in the world and is something that makes us feel things, makes us think about all sorts of ideas, helps us dream, create, concentrate, get up off our chairs, talk, and the list can go on.

I started this article thinking that it would be extremely easy to choose some melodies that everyone knows and start sharing the stories behind them. But that’s actually the opposite. It’s tough to find this level of cultural universality around the world, especially in the fragmented media landscape of today.

So, how can we define a popular song? The first thing that comes to mind is music that transcends generations or songs with a unique quality that transforms them into works of art our ears will never forget. An even better definition is this one: a melody that practically everyone in the room can finish a line if you only sing the first portion of it.

I love history, music, and stories, so of course, I had to search for the most impressive ones and share them with you. Did I spark your interest? I hope I succeeded because here are 6 well-known songs and the stories behind the lyrics.

Courtesy of Pinterest

1. Beyoncé – Single Ladies

I’ve just written the name of this song and I’m already dancing on my chair. This mood-boosting melody is not about the materialistic attitude of a woman; it’s actually about the way Beyoncé sees marriage.

The lyrics are about true love and also everything single women should look out for. It’s not about receiving jewelry or other material things. The most important quality for the artist is the relationship itself.

The most popular line of the song, “If you liked it, then you shoulda put a ring on it,” quickly became iconic and many women felt like they should only get involved with people who are willing to commit.

According to different sources, Queen B was newly married to her long-time boyfriend, rapper Jay-Z, when she wrote the “Single Ladies” hit. The singer explained that the lyrics simply express her feelings and thoughts about marriage and true love.

…All the single ladies, all the single ladies. I’ve told you that this one is popular and catchy!

2. Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive

…At first I was afraid, I was petrified… Do you know the rest? I bet you do! 

The disco hit was written by Dino Fekaris and Freddie Perren and can be described as a female-empowerment hymn, as it is all about moving on after a toxic relationship. When the 2 songwriters and producers finished the lyrics and the rhythm, there wasn’t any diva to actually sign it. They agreed that the next female musician who enters the studio will be the one who gets the song.

The star they were waiting for ended up being Gloria Gaynor, whose record company contacted Freddie Perren. They called him to request his producing services for a song called “Substitute” which was initially recorded by the Righteous Brothers. They agreed and the celeb consented to record “I Will Survive” as the B-side.

Even though all the people who worked on the song believed that “I Will Survive” was better than “Substitute,” the head of Gaynor’s record business still wanted the second one to be the A-side.

However, the public was the one who decided which one was better. The US chart for “Substitute” peaked at number 107 in October 1978, but club DJs began playing the B-side instead, and soon radio stations followed suit.

Whether it was Gloria’s voice, the disco beat, the empowering message of self-love and self-sufficiency, or the iconic chorus, we all know that this is an amazing song that has the ability to glue us to the dancefloor.

Photo by Vicki L. Miller from

3. Michael Jackson – Billie Jean

Michael Jackson was considered by many as being the king of pop music, and he really knew how to show that to the whole world. He was incredibly talented, with a voice that was so angelic and unique, not to mention his incredible dance moves that were simply the best. When he was on the stage, the whole crowd was speechless. I guess you already noticed that I’m a massive fan of his.

One of my all-time favorite songs is “Billie Jean.” An upbeat melody that was covered by many artists who were touched by the talent of the master himself. What many people don’t know is that the song was actually inspired by a real story.

Michael Jackson used to receive a lot of letters from his fans, but one of them was sent by a woman who claimed she had a romantic relationship with the artist and that it resulted in the birth of her twins.

Of course, the star stated that something like this never happened and he kept telling the officials that he didn’t have anything to do with that woman; hence the lyrics “Billie Jean is not my lover/She’s just a girl who claims that I am the one/But the kid is not my son”.

…What can we say? When you’re such an iconic public figure, it’s inevitable that you’ll have to deal with all sorts of fans!

4. Cyndi Lauper – Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Cyndi Lauper is an American singer and songwriter, and she’s very popular for being an activist for LGBTQ rights. One of her most popular songs ever, “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”, was recorded in 1983, the year when women started to be vocal about their own rights and desires.

Even though it might seem that it is only a song that says things about a carefree celebration of partying and a laid-back way of life, Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” evolved into a type of feminist anthem, a call for women to band together and wave away anyone attempting to stand in their way. I am all about girl power!

We love a song that is all about empowering women! We need a bit of confidence, am I right, ladies? The feminist movement in the United States of America was already underway when this hymn was released, giving the loose collective an unofficial soundtrack. Yay!

5. Bon Jovi – It’s My Life

…It’s my life and/ It’s now or never/ But I ain’t… the rest is yours to sing! 

This song is just too good! Now I want to go to a rock concert and sing my lungs out! According to Bon Jovi, this incredible melody is all about his desire to live his life to the fullest. The singer gets his confidence from people who persist in doing things their way, just like the singer Frank Sinatra used to do.

We can say that self-assertion is definitely a huge subtheme of this popular song that has been going from generation to generation. Besides that, the artist knows that sometimes it’s hard to do things exactly as you want, in part because of the widespread problems that affect society. But, as the lyrics put it, “it’s now or never/I ain’t gon’ live forever.”

So thank you, Bon Jovi! We need a song that makes us have fun, gives us confidence and allows us to sing from the top of our lungs!

Photo by Muhammad suryanto from

6. Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody

Another one of my favorites! I’m absolutely positive that I’m not the only one who knows the amazing “Bohemian Rhapsody”. You might not know ALL of the lyrics, but you sure know at least some of them. One of the main things that makes this melody so special is the group’s use of an operatic falsetto interlude.

I think that only a vocal group like Queen could masterfully execute a passage like this in such an incredible rock song. No wonder this band is considered a staple of pop culture! As for the story that was behind the song, the band said that it was about a young man who unintentionally killed someone, and just like Goethe’s Faust, he gave his soul to the devil.

…Some of the most popular songs on this list might be new to you, but be careful. You likely won’t be able to forget them once you hear them. Which one of these songs is your favorite? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments!

…If you want to discover more about our beautiful country’s history, you should check out this article: Made in America: 10 Greatest Inventions That Made History!


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