We’ve all been driving down the road with our radios, 8-tracks, cassettes, CD’s, or MP3′s blaring the lyrics to our favorite tunes. And if you’re like me, you’re singing along *POSSIBLY* getting the words right, and wondering what the lyrics mean.
This got me thinking: I turned to my “crack research team” and said something like, “Hey MJ, why don’t you get the 4-1-1 on six of the biggest songs in music history?”
He promptly whined back, “Why do I have to do everything? Can I just do five songs?”
To whit, I replied, “You’re not schizophrenic, and neither am I!”
[Wow, this may be the worst. intro. ever.]
1. I SHOT THE SHERIFF, 1973, Bob Marley
“I shot the sheriff
But I didn’t shoot no deputy …”
Did the deputy get shot, or not?
We dug deep into the research vaults and could find no evidence of the deputy being shot.
However, it does appear, that the sheriff was shot, and he swears “it was in self defence (original spelling).”
2. HEY JUDE, 1968, The Beatles
“Hey jude, don’t make it bad.
Take a sad song and make it better.”
Can one take a sad song and make it better?
This was challenging for the research team due to the depth in this difficult set of lyrics.
After hours, or possibly two to three minutes – sure, we put in all the necessary time – we concluded that ‘yes’ it is POSSIBLE, though unlikely, to “take a sad song and make it better.”
And we were pretty sure it would require copious amounts of ice cream, chocolate, or an iced, foil bag drink, preferably daiquiri or pina colada, to make it a whole lot better.
3. PUFF, THE MAGIC DRAGON, 1963;
Peter, Paul, and Mary
“A dragon lives forever but not so little boys
Painted wings and giant rings make way for other toys.
One grey night it happened, Jackie Paper came no more
And puff that mighty dragon, he ceased his fearless roar.”
Did Puff really cease his fearless roar?
This one was fairly easy. Though the lyrics don’t mention it, Jackie Paper had a son – Peter Paper – who ended up visiting Puff in a land called Honalee.
You may have even heard about how Peter Paper picked a peck of pickled peppers near Susie, who was selling seashells by the seashore.
So, obviously Puff continued his fearless roar as soon as he had the company of a new little boy, Peter Paper.
4. (I CAN’T GET NO) SATISFACTION, 1965,
The Rolling Stones
“I can’t get no satisfaction
‘Cause I try and I try and I try and I try.”
Can one get satisfaction?
My research team and I, conducted a poll, and determined that though we’ve also tried and tried and tried, we also “can’t get no satisfaction.” Except MLB (editor of my crack research team, piped in and yelled, “Can’t get ANY satisfaction! Thank you very much.”
5. LIKE A ROLLING STONE, 1965, Bob Dylan
Thought to be the greatest song in rock and roll history by many music critics, we’ve pulled one of the most famous lines out to be put under the research microscope:
“When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose.”
Do you got nothing to lose, when you got nothing?
First of all, what’s up with the grammar in a lot of these song lyrics??
Secondly, does one ever “got nothing?”
The team was mixed on this. At first it was like, yes, you can have nothing. But then, wait, no you have to have something – your clothes, a couple of pennies you scrape together, the kids, a mangy dog, that old Green Bay Packers poster in the garage …
So, to bottomline it: If you truly “got nothing to lose,” then yes, “you’ve got nothing.” This is probably not the case with the vastest majority of us, though. We’ve almost always got something to lose.
And yes, MLB, I hear you – “It’s ‘have’ nothing to lose, not ‘got’ nothing to lose.”
Are there any song lyrics that you’ve researched?
(Of course, not as exhaustively as my team did, I’m sure!)