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Bronze Conversationalist

Rock Songs About History

What songs tell a story about historic events, places or people. 

 

I'll start with a true favorite: Roads to Moscow- Al Stewart

From his 1973 Past, Present and Future album

 

This song tells the story of the German invasion of Russia in WWII. Each verse  beautifully captures the different aspects of the conflict as seen through the eyes of a Russian soldier. When you listen, you can almost see the aspects of the campaign happening.

 

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Honored Social Butterfly

1944 (Jamala)

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1,007 Views
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Pride (In the Name of Love) (U2)

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1,007 Views
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Enola Gay (OMD)

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1,080 Views
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War Surplus Baby (Bill Danoff)

 

"Barefoot and sadness
Bell bottom eyes
We did what need to be done
So we marched all the marches
Ended all the wars
All the time believing that we won"

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Gold Conversationalist

Life In Dark Water - Al Stewart

 

About the tale and mystery of The Mary Celeste

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Outlaw Blues: Dylan (He references Jesse James and Robert Ford, the guy who shot Jesse James).

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1,331 Views
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Gold Conversationalist

Indian Reservation - Paul Revere and The Raiders

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1,338 Views
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Honored Social Butterfly

Murder Most Foul: Dylan

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1,394 Views
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Telegraph Road (Dire Straits)--about the development of an actual road in LA

 

"A long time ago came a man on a track
Walking thirty miles with a sack on his back
And he put down his load where he thought it was the best
Made a home in the wilderness"

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1,743 Views
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Good Timin’: Jimmie Jones

Honored Social Butterfly

Juarez (Tori Amos):  From Flavorwire:  "As you might expect of a song about the border-town murders of hundreds of women, “Juarez” is incredibly haunting."

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1,835 Views
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Honored Social Butterfly

They Dance Alone (Sting)--concerning the Disappeared in Chile during Pinochet's regime 

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1,878 Views
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We Work the Black Seam Together (Sting)--concerning the 1984 miners strike in England

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1,878 Views
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P.T. 109: Jimmy Dean 

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2,009 Views
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All and Everyone-- by PJ Harvey -- About the the battle of Gallipoli

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Killing of Georgie (Parts I & II) (Rod Stewart)

 

From Wikipedia:  "In the May 1995 issue of Mojo, Stewart explained: 'That was a true story about a gay friend of The Faces. He was especially close to me and Mac. But he was knifed or shot, I can't remember which.'"

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Bronze Conversationalist

Warren Harding- Al Stewart

From Past, Present and Future album

Telling the story of Warren Harding, 29th US President from 1921-1923 and an alleged scandal with an immigrant bootlegger

 

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2,247 Views
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Social Butterfly

Memories Of Yesterday - the Five Crowns

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2,213 Views
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Scarborough Fair / Canticle  -  S&G

 

In the 1600's, Scarborough Fair was an annual gathering for vendors selling their goods along with minstrels and other performers. It's an old folk song made popular by traveling minstrels. More at . . .

https://www.songfacts.com/facts/simon-garfunkel/scarborough-fair-canticle

 

"Rock 'n' roll might not solve your problems, but it does let you dance all over them." Pete Townshend
Social Butterfly

When We Were Young - the five Playboys

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2,184 Views
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2,456 Views
3
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I Remember The Night - the Newtones

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2,452 Views
2
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Sympathy For The Devil  -  The Stones

 

Several historical references are mentioned - 

Jesus and Pilate

The Russian Revolution 1917 and killing of the royal family

World War II and Hitler's blitzkrieg

The killing of the Kennedys

A reference to killings in India possibly referring to a religious cult

 

 

 

 

"Rock 'n' roll might not solve your problems, but it does let you dance all over them." Pete Townshend
Social Butterfly

American Pie - Don McLean

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Impi (Johnny Clegg)

 

From Wikipedia:  "The album's lead single, "Impi", with its pointedly political lyrics about a defeat of the colonial British army by the Zulus at the Battle of Isandlwana, was banned by South African radio"

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Honored Social Butterfly

Catherine Howard's Fate  -  Blackmore's Night

 

Catherine Howard was the fifth wife of King Henry VIII, and the second to be executed for "treason" (adultery).

 

 

 

 

"Rock 'n' roll might not solve your problems, but it does let you dance all over them." Pete Townshend
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2,482 Views
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Social Butterfly

Bring Back Those Do Wops - the Bagdads

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The Ballad Of Ira Hayes: Dylan

Honored Social Butterfly

The Green Fields of France (No Man's Land)  -  Eric Bogle (Scottish singer-songwriter) and recorded by various artists, especially Irish singers and folk bands

 

It's about the WWI cemeteries found in the "no man's land" of Flanders and Northern France, and a young soldier, Willie McBride, who died and was buried there.

 

 

"Rock 'n' roll might not solve your problems, but it does let you dance all over them." Pete Townshend
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