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Random Depressing Stories Behind Some Of Most Popular Songs In Modern History

  • Semi-Charmed Life on Random Depressing Stories Behind Some Of Most Popular Songs In Modern History

    (#12) Semi-Charmed Life

    • Third Eye Blind

    Third Eye Blind’s biggest hit, "Semi-Charmed Life," is both extremely upbeat and catchy, and brutally depressing. Written about the challenges of addiction and using other vices to reach an equivalent high, its impact was somewhat blunted by the fact that all of the actual references to substances were bleeped or back-masked in the radio edit of the song.

  • Sister on Random Depressing Stories Behind Some Of Most Popular Songs In Modern History

    (#13) Sister

    • Prince

    Buried on Prince's 1980 album Dirty Mind is "Sister," a short funk track about seducing one's… well, you know. Prince fans thought the track was pure fantasy, but when more biographical details about the Purple One started to come out, the song took on a weird, dark meaning.

    It seems that a 16-year-old Prince spent some time living with his half-sister, who was 32. 

  • The Way on Random Depressing Stories Behind Some Of Most Popular Songs In Modern History

    (#2) The Way

    • Fastball

    Pop band Fastball's only hit, "The Way," tells a romanticized version of a real story - about two elderly people disappearing. Lela and Raymond Howard left home in June 1997 to attend a festival in Texas, despite Lela suffering from Alzheimer's disease and Raymond having recently had brain surgery.

    The couple was found deceased two weeks later at the bottom of a ravine near Hot Springs, AR, hundreds of miles away from where they intended to go.

  • I Wish It Would Rain on Random Depressing Stories Behind Some Of Most Popular Songs In Modern History

    (#8) I Wish It Would Rain

    • The Temptations

    Motown staff lyricist Rodger Penzabene wrote this heartbreaking ballad for The Temptations, and singer David Ruffin's impassioned vocals drove it to the Top 5 on Billboard's R&B chart. But while Ruffin's pain was a performance, Penzabene's was real - he reportedly wrote the song in a fit of anguish after learning his wife was cheating on him.

  • Shiny Happy People on Random Depressing Stories Behind Some Of Most Popular Songs In Modern History

    (#15) Shiny Happy People

    • R.E.M.

    While seemingly a jokey and slight REM song about people going through life with no cares, "Shiny Happy People" is thought to have drawn its initial inspiration from a fairly dark place. The title phrase was the translation of a propaganda poster from China's Mao era that read "shiny happy people holding hands." The song was written and recorded after the Tiananmen Square incident in Beijing, an event that weighed heavily on the band.

     

  • The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald on Random Depressing Stories Behind Some Of Most Popular Songs In Modern History

    (#10) The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

    • Gordon Lightfoot

    The Gordon Lightfoot story-song isn’t a fanciful creation - it’s the story of an actual ship sinking. The SS Edmund Fitzgerald was a real iron ore carrier that traversed the Great Lakes carrying ore pellets to various ports of call.

    Or she did, until she sank in a massive storm with the loss of her entire crew of 29 sailors - just like the song describes.

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About This Tool

Sad songs don't have to be based on real tragedy. But some hits speak the truth about the worst heartbreak things in life. Some of the most iconic songs of all time came about the real experiences of artists or bands. Breakups, divorce, friendships, betrayals, and mental health struggles are just a few of the life experiences that have inspired some of the most famous songs.

People rarely have a chance to know the intention of the songwriter or music artists. This page collates 14 entries, there is a collection of depressing stories behind some of the most popular songs in modern history. You can find more information.

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