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We Explain The Meaning Behind These 10 Classic Song Lyrics

1) "BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY" - QUEEN

“Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the fandango?” ... “Bismillah! No!”

Scaramouche was a traditional clown character who featured in Punch and Judy shows, often getting his head knocked off by Punch!

The fandango is a lively traditional dance accompanied by guitars, hand claps and castanets.

"Bismillah" is an Arabic word meaning "in the name of God."

2) "HOTEL CALIFORNIA" - THE EAGLES

“Warm smell of colitas rising up through the air”

According to the Eagles’ manager, “colitas” was explained to Don Henley and Glenn Frey as meaning “little buds” by their Mexican-American road manager, and was Spanish slang for “marijuana"

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3) "I’M GONNA BE (500 MILES)," THE PROCLAIMERS

“And if I haver, yeah I know I'm gonna be, I'm gonna be the man who's havering to you.”

Twins Charlie and Craig Reid say that in Scotland to haver is simply to talk nonsense or babble on...

4) "JACK AND DIANE," JOHN COUGAR MELLENCAMP

“Let's run off behind a shady tree, dribble off those Bobbie Brooks let me do what I please.”

Bobbie Brooks is the name of a clothing line founded in 1939, their most popular item is a selection of blue jeans that are still sold in the US.

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5) “BRASS IN POCKET” - THE PRETENDERS

“Got brass in pocket, got bottle, I’m gonna use it”
“Been driving, Detroit leaning”… “Got a new skank, so reet”

“Brass in pocket” is English slang for money (referring to the color of gold coins), and “bottle” means courage.

The “Detroit lean” refers to the Motown habit of driving with one hand on the steering wheel while slouching slightly to the right.

“Skanking” is a dance step popular in the 80's with skinheads, and “reet” simply means cool.

6) "THE JOKER" - THE STEVE MILLER BAND

“Some people call me Maurice, ‘cause I speak of the pompatus of love.”

“Pompatus” is, in fact, a made-up word!

But Steve Miller admitted he was influenced by a 1954 hit by the Medallions called “The Letter.”

That song contains the line “Oh my darling, let me whisper sweet words of pizmotality and discuss the puppetutes of love.” 

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7) "IT'S STILL ROCK AND ROLL TO ME" - BILLY JOEL

“Maybe I should buy some old tab collars?” … “How about a pair of pink sidewinders and a bright orange pair of pants? You could really be a Beau Brummel, baby”

Joel’s lyrics mention all sorts of trends in fashion and music, beginning with a classic tab-collared shirt.

He then mentions Sidewinders which were a once popular type of slip-on shoe.

George “Beau” Brummell was an English fashion guru, who heavily influenced style trends back in the day.

8) "YOU’RE SO VAIN" - CARLY SIMON

“You had one eye in the mirror as you watched yourself gavotte.”

The gavotte was actually a French folk dance popular in the late 16th century.

Simon has said that she pictured the song's character making a dramatic entrance with one hand raised and the other on his hip, which is ALWAYS a stylish way to enter a room!

9) "WRAPPED AROUND YOUR FINGER" - THE POLICE

“You consider me the young apprentice caught between the Scylla and Charybdis.”

“Caught between the Scylla and Charybdis” is basically Sting saying “between a rock and a hard place”

According to Greek mythology, Scylla and Charybdis were two sea monsters who lived on opposite sides of a strait that sailors tried to pass.

Oi, keep it simple Sting!

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10) "DOWN UNDER" - MEN AT WORK

“Traveling in a fried-out Kombi” 

Plenty of Aussie's will know that a “Kombi” is what is actually a Volkswagen Type 2.

But did you know the nickname comes from its German moniker: Kombinationskraftwagen?

Well, now you do!

Mentalfloss

 

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