songs that have changed their meaning through passage of time etc

Discussion in 'Music' started by andrew markworthy, Mar 21, 2005.

  1. andrew markworthy

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    It occurred to me the other day that some songs/albums have changed their meaning either because passage of time has made the original meaning anachronistic or has in fact reversed the original meaning. For example:

    Taxman - The Beatles The song was an extended gripe about the then punitive level of taxation for top wage earners - an unbelievable 95% ('one for you, nineteen for me'). The leaders of the two main political parties at the time (Messrs Wilson and Heath) are also given name checks in the song. Of course the whole thing now is meaningless - the 95% tax band disappeared decades ago (our top rate is 40%, but it's harder to make a griping song out of that), and of the two leaders, one is dead and the other ceased to be leader of his party nearly 30 years ago.

    Made in Japan - Deep Purple 'Made in Japan' these days implies high quality and cutting-edge technology. However, in the 1960s and early 70s the phrase was synonymous with cheap badly-constructed and rather tacky produce (there's a joke about this in Back to the Future where Marty eulogises about Japanese products to the 1950s Doc Brown who is incredulous). When Deep Purple released their (excellent) live album recorded in Japan, the title was meant to be a self-deprecatory joke. Now of course it has the reverse meaning.

    In other cases, songs that mean one thing in one culture mean the reverse in another. E.g. the line about 'Act your age not your shoe size' by Prince means the one of two things depending on where you live in the world. If you live where shoe sizes are measured in the range 3-12, then the line means 'act maturely'. On the other hand, if you live somewhere where shoe sizes are measured in the 30s and 40s, then the line means 'loosen up'.

    Can anyone think of more examples (and for the purposes of this thread, please exclude obviously dated things like 17th century protest songs, etc)?
     
  2. John Watson

    John Watson Screenwriter

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    In light of the ravages of political correctness, many "empowerment" songs of the 1970s have a changed import - "I Am Woman" by Helen Reddy, for example.

    Many popular songs of decades ago seem inconceivable to the younger listeners of today.

    For those of us with a taste for the exotic, "Everything Old is New Again" (from All That Jazz)

    BTW, "Taxman" is still popular as regards the predations of the tax eaters.[​IMG]
     
  3. Mikael Soderholm

    Mikael Soderholm Supporting Actor

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    Kraftwerk: Radioaktivität (or Radio Activity as the english version was called).
    It was originally relased in 1976 (or so), but when they re-did it on their Mix album, they had changed the lyrics to reflect their growing anti-nuclear stand...
     
  4. PaulDA

    PaulDA Cinematographer

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    You could say that when Ringo Star sings "You're Sixteen" at live shows these days it has a different meaning. If not then [​IMG] .
     
  5. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

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    [c]South of the Border[/c]

    She was a picture - in old Spanish lace
    Just for a tender while, I kissed a smile - upon her face
    'Cause it was fiesta - and we were so gay
    South of the border - Mexico way
     
  6. Ron Etaylor

    Ron Etaylor Second Unit

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    You're a Queer One, Julie Jordan. It's in some musical(I think Carousel?)
     
  7. Garrett Lundy

    Garrett Lundy Producer

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    Cutest little dingy in the Navy. [​IMG]
     
  8. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    Michael Jackson's - Beat It
    (Oh stop Booing)
     
  9. Greg Dorsey

    Greg Dorsey Extra

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    Every rock & roll song ever used in a television or radio commercial to sell a product!

    Think the Rolling Stones "Start Me Up" when it was used to push Microsoft Windows. I don't think Mick Jagger had a PC in mind when wrote the line "You make a dead man cum." [​IMG]
     

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