Reply
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.

 

"If the song makes it and people like it, then I guess that's all that matters, really." -Jeff Beck
Honored Social Butterfly

P.T. 109: Jimmy Dean 

0 Kudos
25 Views
0
Report
Honored Social Butterfly

All and Everyone-- by PJ Harvey -- About the the battle of Gallipoli

0 Kudos
49 Views
0
Report
Honored Social Butterfly

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.'"

0 Kudos
392 Views
4
Report
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

 

"If the song makes it and people like it, then I guess that's all that matters, really." -Jeff Beck
0 Kudos
265 Views
3
Report
Social Butterfly

Memories Of Yesterday - the Five Crowns

0 Kudos
231 Views
2
Report
Honored Social Butterfly

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

 

"Music can change the world because it can change people." - Bono
0 Kudos
212 Views
1
Report
Social Butterfly

When We Were Young - the five Playboys

0 Kudos
200 Views
0
Report
Honored Social Butterfly

0 Kudos
473 Views
3
Report
Social Butterfly

I Remember The Night - the Newtones

0
Kudos
171
Views
0 Kudos
469 Views
2
Report
Honored Social Butterfly

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Several historical references are mentioned - 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

 

 

 

 

"Music can change the world because it can change people." - Bono
Social Butterfly

American Pie - Don McLean

0 Kudos
420 Views
0
Report
Honored Social Butterfly

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"

0 Kudos
542 Views
2
Report
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).

 

 

 

 

"Music can change the world because it can change people." - Bono
0 Kudos
499 Views
1
Report
Social Butterfly

Bring Back Those Do Wops - the Bagdads

0 Kudos
499 Views
0
Report
Honored Social Butterfly

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.

 

 

"Music can change the world because it can change people." - Bono
0
Kudos
99
Views
Social Butterfly

The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down - the Band

0 Kudos
551 Views
1
Report
Honored Social Butterfly

Mothers of the Disappeared  -  U2

 

During the 70's and 80's, there were civil wars and military coups in the countries of Nicaragua, El Salvador, Chile, and Argentina. While traveling in Central and South America in 1986, Bono learned of children that had disappeared, abducted by the various military regimes and dictatorships from families of the opposition. He met with groups of mothers in those countries who were asking the various governments to investigate the disappearance of their children whom they believed were murdered. One group was called "Mothers of the Disappeared."

 

When U2 toured Chile in 1998, one group of Madres appeared on stage holding pictures of their missing children. Bono called out to the former dictator, Augusto Pinochet, to just tell them where the bodies were buried. 

 

 

"Music can change the world because it can change people." - Bono
0 Kudos
538 Views
0
Report
Honored Social Butterfly

Warsaw 1943 (Johnny Clegg)

 

Note by Johnny Clegg : Inspired by the writings of Czeslaw Milosz, this song is about friendship that survives the ultimate betrayal. There is much we still need to understand and remember from those who died as well as from those who survived the fascist and stalinist terror

0 Kudos
508 Views
0
Report
Honored Social Butterfly

The Unicorn: Irish Rovers (a fun take on some Biblical history).

Social Butterfly

The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia - Vicki Lawrence

Honored Social Butterfly

Vera Lynn sang:

 

1) We’ll Meet Again
2) They’ll Be Bluebirds Over The White Cliffs Of Dover 

 

The early years of WW II from a British perspective. Powerful, uplifting and morale boosting songs.

 

 

Honored Social Butterfly

Doolin - Dalton  -  Eagles

 

Tells the story of the notorious outlaw gang led by Bill Doolin and Bill Dalton from the late 1800's. 

https://www.songfacts.com/facts/eagles/doolin-dalton

 

"Music can change the world because it can change people." - Bono
Honored Social Butterfly

Good Timin’: Jimmy Jones

0 Kudos
497 Views
0
Report
Honored Social Butterfly

Tom Dooley: Kingston Trio

Honored Social Butterfly

Done With Bonaparte  -  Mark Knopfler

 

The song is written from the perspective of a French soldier, as Napoleon's army is forced to retreat from its invasion of Russia in 1812. He had joined the French army with high hopes, only to have his dreams shattered. Wounded, malnourished, and longing to be home with his loved one, he prays the world never sees the likes of "the little Corporal" again. 

 

Knopfler is a brilliant storyteller, and the lyrics to this song are poignant. The rhythm and melody, however, make for a great dance tune.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-N0u6xTs1g

 

Lyrics:  https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/markknopfler/donewithbonaparte.html

 

 

 

 

"Music can change the world because it can change people." - Bono
Social Butterfly

The Night Chicago Died - Paper Lace

0 Kudos
482 Views
0
Report
Honored Social Butterfly

The Death Of Emmett Till: Dylan

Bronze Conversationalist

CHICAGO- Graham Nash

From his 1971 debut solo album

This song's title and lyrics are about the anti Vietnam War protests during the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago

"If the song makes it and people like it, then I guess that's all that matters, really." -Jeff Beck
cancel
Showing results for 
Show  only  | Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Users
Announcements

Online Community Refresh

Online Community has updated the site design in our discussions area to make it easier to connect, follow a conversation and access resources.

The new look and feel will be rolled out in multiple phases starting with these initial improvements in the conversations and replies levels.

Learn more about the new design today.

AARP Members Only Games

Play members only games, like FIll Ins, Lumeno, 2048 and a collaborative, multiplayer Let's Crossword.

Play Now
AARP Members Only Games Logos
AARP Rewards

Solve Crosswords. Earn Rewards. Activate AARP Rewards to earn points for games, quizzes and videos. Redeem for deals and discounts.

Get started with AARP Rewards now!
/html/assets/Rewards-program-badge-355x224.png