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Old 05-13-2020, 12:03 PM
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Songs with different/odd stories


Mountain - Nantucket Sleighride - Life as a whaler in Massachusetts.

Genesis - Driving the Last Spike - Life building railroads in England in the 1800s.

Others?
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Old 05-13-2020, 12:12 PM
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Johnny Cash: Boy named Sue, Folsum Prison blues, Drunken' Ira Hayes.
He had a million of them.

Merle Haggard: Pancho and Lefty. Mama Tried. Misery and Gin. And many more.

Let's not even mention Willie Nelson.
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Old 05-13-2020, 12:12 PM
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Well, maybe not what your looking for as it's less a lifestyle song and more of a narration of an event, but maybe MC McCall's Convoy.
Heck, I guess 'Woodstock' would fit as an event style narrative example as well, and sort of different.
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Old 05-13-2020, 12:13 PM
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Alice's Restaurant.
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Old 05-13-2020, 12:30 PM
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As usual - Al Stewart.

Take your pick: the Fall of Constantinople, a Murmansk Run, the life of Lord Grenville, gun running, Angolan civil war, emigrating through Ellis Island, etc.
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Old 05-13-2020, 12:47 PM
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One of my favorite Warren Zevon songs is Roland The Headless Thompson Gunner.

A Norwegian mercenary fighting in Africa is double-crossed and killed. His ghost seeks and exacts revenge, then continues to roam the earth, eventually encountering Patty Hearst. It's a tale we can all relate to.
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Old 05-13-2020, 01:12 PM
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Bob Dylan's song Lily, Rosemary, and The Jack of Hearts is a song about Lily, Rosemary, and the Jack of Hearts.
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Old 05-13-2020, 01:14 PM
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Genesis - "Get 'Em Out By Friday"
https://youtu.be/FZzpIK_1f9E

Unscrupulous developers scam people out of their property, raise their rent, and force them to live in smaller and smaller dwellings. By the end of the song, they are genetically modifying tenants to be half-size so they can cram in twice as many.
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Old 05-13-2020, 01:16 PM
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Breathing by Kate Bush. A song about a fetus worried about the effects of nuclear fallout. And "breathing" nicotine from it's mother.
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Old 05-13-2020, 01:19 PM
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"The Weight" the Band.


God, there's so many songs that meet the OPs criteria.
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Old 05-13-2020, 01:21 PM
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One of my favorite Warren Zevon songs is Roland The Headless Thompson Gunner.

A Norwegian mercenary fighting in Africa is double-crossed and killed. His ghost seeks and exacts revenge, then continues to roam the earth, eventually encountering Patty Hearst. It's a tale we can all relate to.
Wow! All in a song? Sounds like the movie.

Another, Peter Gabriel - Into the Light - Inside the mind of an assassin.
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Old 05-13-2020, 01:25 PM
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500 Robots in MY House. Self explanatory.
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Old 05-13-2020, 01:31 PM
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'The Whole of the Moon' the Waterboys.

Sad, haunting tale of a lost love.
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Old 05-13-2020, 01:33 PM
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Bob Dylan's song Lily, Rosemary, and The Jack of Hearts is a song about Lily, Rosemary, and the Jack of Hearts.
And Dylan's Black Diamond Bay tells the tale of an assortment of people just before a volcanic eruption kills them all.
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Old 05-13-2020, 01:48 PM
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Fastball's The Way-- Based on the real life story of an older couple who went the wrong way into the desert and died.

Gordon Lightfoot's The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald-- About. . . the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.
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Old 05-13-2020, 02:59 PM
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Rapture by Blondie is odd. A man from Mars that eats heads, cars, guitars, etc.
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Old 05-13-2020, 03:10 PM
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Walk On The Wild Side by Lou Reed is full of them. All true (more or less) I believe:

Quote:
Holly came from Miami, F.L.A.
Hitch-hiked her way across the U.S.A.
Plucked her eyebrows on the way
Shaved her legs and then he was a she...
- brief bio of Holly Woodlawn. For example.

j
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Old 05-13-2020, 03:22 PM
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Wow! All in a song? Sounds like the movie.

Another, Peter Gabriel - Into the Light - Inside the mind of an assassin.
Check that; it is Family Snapshot.

On the same (Melt), you have Intruder with such lines as:

I like to feel the suspense when I'm certain you know I am there
I like you lying awake, your baited breath charging the air
I like the touch and the smell of all the pretty dresses you wear
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Old 05-13-2020, 03:42 PM
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Dylan's The Ballad Of Hollis Brown, the story of a man so driven by poverty and dispair, that he kills his wife and children and then himself to put them all out of their abject misery. Cheery little tune.
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Old 05-13-2020, 04:25 PM
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Murder, Tonight, In The Trailer Park by The Cowboy Junkies.

The story of a murder and its aftermath told in a series of cinematic snippets:

Quote:
Crosstown at the Waterton
George Evans is sitting tall and tight,
Buying drinks for all the regulars
Bragging about how them bones
Danced for him tonight
But was it him....?

And while I think about it, The Honeymoon Killers by Magazine is the story of a murderous spree in which the murders .... are not addressed. In any way. There's stuff about listening to Mantovani and eating ice cream, but that's it. I love it greatly, and wonder vaguely if is closely based in some way on the film of the same name, which I have carelessly never seen. Anyone able to enlighten me?

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Old 05-13-2020, 04:27 PM
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Billy The Mountain by Zappa & The Mothers

A mountain (Billy) and his wife (Ethyl, a tree) decide to go on vacation, which causes untold havoc when they open a hole in the earth's crust. They are confronted by a mysterious would-be hero named Studebacher Hoch, who wears cardboard, foil-covered wings and is propelled by flies. The meeting of mountain and man results in Studebacher falling off of Billy's side to ignominious defeat.

(I've left out quite a few details, but you get the idea... )
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Old 05-13-2020, 04:40 PM
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How about The Night the Lights Went out in Georgia?

Little sister kills her brother's cheating wife and her lover.
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Old 05-13-2020, 10:00 PM
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Mark Knopfler wrote the story of Mason and Dixon on their way to America "to draw the line".
He and James Taylor sing the characters' lines.

Sailing to Philadelphia
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Old 05-13-2020, 10:14 PM
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"'39" by Queen is about time dilation.

"Boris the Spider" by the Who. Several other Entwhistle songs had unusual subjects: "905" about clones, his solo "I was Just Being Friendly" about mistaking a woman for a prostitute, "Cousin Kevin" and "Fiddle About" from Tommy
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Old 05-13-2020, 10:54 PM
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ENTWISTLE!

"Squire James" by Sanford and Townsend.

Woman catches husband in his barn with a younger woman. Burns the barn down with them in it. Gets visited in the night by smouldering figures riding demon horses.
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Old 05-14-2020, 01:28 AM
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Billy Joel's "Downeaster Alexa" is about the plight of commercial fishermen.

Faith No More had a few of these off of "The Real Thing." For instance:

"Edge of the World" is first-person creepy guy trying to get a little girl to come with him ("it's not the point that I'm 40 years older...you can trust me, I'm no criminal, but I'd kill my mother to be with you")

"Zombie Eaters" is a newborn baby singing to its mother

"Surprise! You're Dead" is about becoming a vampire

"Underwater Love" is about a guy trying to drown his lover ("liquid seeps into your lungs, but your eyes look so serene")

Metallica has a song called "Of Wolf and Man," which is about werewolves

Violent Femmes has "Country Death Song," which is about a guy going crazy and throwing his young daughter into a bottomless well
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Old 05-14-2020, 01:48 AM
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Maxwell's Silver Hammer, about a serial killer, and Timothy, about cannibalism during a mine accident, are a bit odd.
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Old 05-14-2020, 02:56 AM
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Iron Maiden performs songs about The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Dune, WWII dogfights, the massacre of natives by American settlers, and what feels to me like sort of a Legend of Sleepy Hollow tale about coming across some devil worshipers in the night. And that's just on their first few albums. I haven't heard any of their albums since Powerslave.
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Old 05-14-2020, 03:38 AM
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Iron Maiden performs songs about The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Dune, WWII dogfights, the massacre of natives by American settlers, and what feels to me like sort of a Legend of Sleepy Hollow tale about coming across some devil worshipers in the night. And that's just on their first few albums. I haven't heard any of their albums since Powerslave.
I liked the song about the experimental zeppelin going down in a storm on its maiden voyage.
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Old 05-14-2020, 04:01 AM
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This could be a Drive-By Trucker thread!

That Wig about a preacher's wife who shot him and ran off with the kids. Song tells you why.

Deeper In.
Based on a true story of.... uh.... well..... 'Brotherly Love'.

18 Wheels of Love
. Another true story of how the author's Mom found love late in life.

Goode's Field Road. About a businessman in too deep and gets offed to protect the family.

So, so many more. The Great Car Dealer War, Pulaski, 3 Dimes Down......
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Old 05-14-2020, 05:08 AM
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"Satan Gave Me A Taco" by Beck.
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Old 05-14-2020, 05:24 AM
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"Oliver's Army" by Elvis Costello and the Attractions. An army recruiter's pitch to an unemployed British kid, and keeping unemployment deliberately high to grease the skids that push unemployable teenagers into the English army.

"If I Had a Boat" by Lyle Lovett. A little boy dreams about what the ultimate freedom would be like. His musings go a little off the rails as he overthinks them, but he's pretty sure a boat and a pony are involved.

"All I Wanna Do" by Sheryl Crow. Ever watch somebody in a bar peel the label off a wet beer bottle? Yeah? How about at 10:00 AM?

"Savoy Truffle" by the Beatles, G. Harrison writer. You know those name and placement charts in a Whitman Sampler that tell you what and where each chocolate is? Bet you can't write a song about every single one of them! Anyway, that stuff's bad for your teeth.
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Old 05-14-2020, 07:37 AM
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Lovett also had other songs with odd premises. "L.A. County" is about a killer who murders his ex-girlfriend at the church altar as she's about to marry someone else.* "Church" is about a church service going on too long.

The Bonzo Dog Band has songs about vacations ("Postcard"), a boring neighbor ("My Pink Half of the Drainpipe"), a woman being murdered ("Death Cab for Cutie"), boredom itself ("I'm Bored"), bodybuilding ("Mr. Apollo"), a tent ("Tent"), egotism ("Look at Me, I'm Wonderful"), "Waiting for the Wardrobe," and many more.

And, of course, just about every song by Captain Beefheart.


*In a live callin, someone requested it, telling Lovett they played it at their wedding. Lovett asked, "Do you even know what that song is about?" She replied, "Well, we changed the lyrics a little."
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Old 05-14-2020, 08:22 AM
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Lovett also had other songs with odd premises. "L.A. County" is about a killer who murders his ex-girlfriend at the church altar as she's about to marry someone else.*
Not exactly an uncommon premise. An uncomfortable one, but kind of a staple of old folk and blues songs.
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Old 05-14-2020, 08:28 PM
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I don't know if this counts, but the song Steppenwolf by Hawkwind is based on the novel of the same name
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Old 05-14-2020, 09:00 PM
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"'39" by Queen is about time dilation.
One of the more notable rock songs about Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity.

My nominee: "Tweeter and the Monkey Man," by the Traveling Wilburys -- a song about two drug dealers in New Jersey, one of whom is apparently a trans woman and Vietnam vet.
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Old 05-15-2020, 12:55 AM
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Is "Flowers On the Wall" about a stint in the mental hospital? "Playing solitaire til dawn with a deck of 51"?
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Old 05-15-2020, 01:06 AM
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"Cygnus X-1" by Rush, the first part which concludes "A Farewell to Kings", is about a black hole in space, specifically the one named Cygnus X-1.
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Old 05-15-2020, 01:17 AM
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Elton John and Bernie Taupin wrote a song about a mass shooting: "Ticking." It was released on the Caribou album in 1974. Definitely not their usual material.
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Old 05-15-2020, 01:26 AM
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Jethro Tull-Hunting Girl

Alan Parsons Project-the whole Tales of Mystery and Imagination album.

David Bromberg-Sharon

Mary Gauthier- Drag Queens in Limousines.
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Old 05-15-2020, 01:30 AM
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Elton John and Bernie Taupin wrote a song about a mass shooting: "Ticking." It was released on the Caribou album in 1974. Definitely not their usual material.
Speaking of John and Taupin:

"All the Girls Love Alice," from John's album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, is about an unhappy upper-class 16-year-old English girl who, though she is heterosexual, becomes a lesbian prostitute, and later dies.
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Old 05-15-2020, 01:45 AM
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Powerwolf's Sanctified With Dynamite is about pulling suicide bombings against demonic armies in the name of Christ. Their entire catalogue is a pretty unique mishmash of power metal tropes about battle and glory, with Catholic werewolves mixed in.
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Old 05-15-2020, 03:25 AM
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Speaking of John and Taupin:

"All the Girls Love Alice," from John's album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, is about an unhappy upper-class 16-year-old English girl who, though she is heterosexual, becomes a lesbian prostitute, and later dies.
I dunno, I never got the vibe that Alice was straight.
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Old 05-15-2020, 03:33 AM
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Is "Flowers On the Wall" about a stint in the mental hospital? "Playing solitaire til dawn with a deck of 51"?
I never got that impression. To me, it was a guy who's trying unsuccessfully to convince an ex that he's not dwelling on the relationship ending. He's doing all kinds of things to keep himself occupied: playing solitaire with a card missing (so he has to cheat), smoking cigarettes, counting the flowers on the wallpaper, and watching Captain Kangaroo.

See? He can't possibly be thinking about her...he's got too much to do
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Old 05-15-2020, 03:34 AM
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Alan Parsons Project-the whole Tales of Mystery and Imagination album.
Oh yes, and I, Robot as well.
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Old 05-15-2020, 07:05 AM
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David Bromberg-Sharon
David Bromberg can sure tell a story.

ETA: has anyone mentioned Jerry Jeff Walker's Mister Bojangles, covered by Bromberg, btw?

Last edited by kayaker; 05-15-2020 at 07:07 AM.
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Old 05-15-2020, 09:18 AM
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Cold Missouri Waters, powerfully and poignantly sung by Richard Shindell (with Dar Williams and Lucy Kalpansky; they called themselves Cry Cry Cry)

"The devastation of the Mann Gulch fire of 1949 through the point of view of Dodge, one of the remaining survivors."
(Lyrics are in the YouTube comments, starts with
My name is Dodge, but then you know that.
It's written on the chart there at the foot end of the of the bed...
)

"Young Men and Fire" by Norman Maclean retells the incident in complete detail (but without music) and explains how Wagner Dodge survived the fire. Oh, and I just saw that the Fiddlin' Foresters tell all about the event before performing this song...

I have a folder of Songs That Tell a Story. This is the first one.
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Old 05-15-2020, 09:25 AM
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Good Lord, all this way and no Bohemian Rhapsody? Man kills dude, has existential crisis, is judged operatically and later moves through anger, grief and acceptance? All in five minutes, fifty-five seconds.

More prosaically, AC/DC You Shook Me All Night Long: An Australian man learning American thighs ain't for mocking.
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Old 05-15-2020, 11:57 AM
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Good Lord, all this way and no Bohemian Rhapsody? Man kills dude, has existential crisis, is judged operatically and later moves through anger, grief and acceptance? All in five minutes, fifty-five seconds.

More prosaically, AC/DC You Shook Me All Night Long: An Australian man learning American thighs ain't for mocking.
Good lord, all this way and someone who claims his location is on the run from Kilroy and no reference to any songs by, say, Styx??? Something in the Mr. Roboto area? Hmmmm?
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Old 05-15-2020, 01:03 PM
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Walk On The Wild Side by Lou Reed is full of them. All true (more or less)
Those were all people he knew in New York.

Speaking of Lou Reed, Street Hassle, about a rich woman, picks up a giggalo, dies during sex. The last section of the song is her ghost lamenting her life.

Listening to Richard Thompson Vincent Black Lightning 52, about a hoodlum and his motorcycle. Spoiler alert - shot by the cops and on his deathbed gives it to his fiance.

Heck, Richard Thompson "Read About Love" - about a young man learning about women. Hilarious song.
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