Historical and or factual inaccuracies in song lyrics

The Idol does Andrew Lloyd Webber thread had me thinking of possible song choices, which made me think of the title number from Sunset Blvd (as a David Cook song) which reminds me of one of my biggest factually inaccurate lyrical lines:

“L[os] A[ngeles]'s changed a lot over the years/since those brave gold rush pioneers/came in their creaky covered wagons…”

L.A. was not founded by the California Gold Rush. Don’t know why this irks me, but it does.
In the Charlene drag-queen’s dream song Never Been to Me the title character sings
“I’ve been to Nice/and the isle of Greece/where I sipped champagne on a yacht…”

While it’s possible to sip champagne on a yacht in the Mediterranean or Aegean, GREECE IS NOT AN Island! It’s a peninsula and an archipelago of many many islands!

From [You Give Me] Fever: “Captain Smith and Pocahontas/had a very mad affair…”
and if they had a call would have been made/and CPS would soon have been there/ because Pocahontas was of course a child and was never involved romantically with John Smith.

What are some others?

Ah, doesn’t say it was…

Neil Young - Hey hey, my my. “The king is gone, but he’s not forgotten/Is this the story of Johnny Rotten/It’s better to burn out 'cause rust never sleeps/The king is gone, but he’s not forgotten” Has anyone explained to Neil that it was Sid Vicious who died, not Johnny Rotten?

The Tragically Hip - The Hundredth Meridian
“Me debunk an American myth?
And take my life in my hands?
Where the great plains begin,
at the hundredth meridian.
At the hundredth meridian,
where the great plains begin.”
I think they’re confusing the hundredth meridian (which is just west of Brandon, Manitoba, where I grew up.) with the Prime meridian, which is just west of Winnipeg, and from whence all of the section and township lines for the prairies are drawn. If you’re headed west out of Winnipeg, you’d think that you had been on the great plains for quite some time already when you went past Brandon. It’s a brilliant song, but the geography doesn’t work out.

U2’s “Pride (In the Name of Love)” - one of the lyrics refers to MLK Jr’s assassination as being “Early morning, April 4…” when it was in the evening. According to the Wiki article, Bono will sometimes sing it as “Early evening” in concert.

The King is Elvis - although the National Enquirer sometimes says he didn’t die either. :wink:

The date in the title of the song “April 29, 1992 (Miami)” by Sublime, about the LA riots and how they affected the entire country, is correct.

However, the singer sang “April 26 1992/there was a riot on the street/tell me where were you” and that’s how it was recorded and will live on forever. That date is wrong. (It’s also my cousin’s birthday!)

There’s quite a bit of WWI inaccuracies in “And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda” as I understand it - the Australians weren’t at Suvla, the protagonist wouldn’t have been issued a “tin hat” at that time, etc. However, it’s extremely evocative of the waste of the war and I don’t mind a few changes to make the rhyme scheme work. :slight_smile:

Shopping for a calendar, maybe? April 21st isn’t Earth Day. On the other hand, it isn’t Christmas, either, so maybe there’s something else going on here.

Great novelty song. Too bad they switched sides.

Unbelieveable. I came in here to post that song. I found the question appropriate since today is Earth Day. I remember hearing that song when it came out and, iirc, Earth Day was on April 21st back then.

I think I’m confused. What Prime Meridian is it that cuts through the Western hemisphere rather than Greenwich?

I checked this and I was completely wrong. But interestingly, the date should have been April 21st. It was supposed to be on the date of John Muir’s b-day, which the organizers of the original Earth Day erroneously thought was April 22, but was actually April 21st.

You can’t beat “The Battle of New Orleans” for historical inaccuracy.

Outrageous. Everybody knows that brambles grow in more temperate climate zones. :slight_smile:

Time to bring up my pet peeve again:

“It was down in Louisiana, just about a mile from Texarkana In them old cotton fields back home.” – “Cotton Fields,” Credence Clearwater Revival (although written by others, I believe).

Texarkana is a good 30 miles from the Louisiana state line. :mad:

I was always utterly baffled by that. Why on earth did that mistake happen?

I used to love that song when I was younger, but now when I think about it, the message of it seems so shallow and stupid. “Killing cops is cool, social inequality is a justification for looting, and all of our cities should be burned down.” Unless the song is all supposed to be satirical or something and not actually endorsing the rioting even though it’s from the perspective of someone participating in it, which I doubt. I still love Sublime though and it is still the all time best summer music.

Rotten rhymes with forgotten.

Well, contrary to what the Gershwins told you “they” DIDN’T “all laugh” at Christopher Columbus for saying the world was round. Even in 1492, every educated person KNEW the world was round.

Paper Lace, The Night Chicago Died:

Daddy was a cop
On the east side of Chicago

The “east side” of Chicago is a lake.

plus IIRC Al Capone was jailed for tax evasion, not after a furious battle with the police that left ‘‘about a hundred cops dead’’

Billy Joel’s ballad of billy the kid refers to a judge saying ‘‘string him up for what he did.’’ However Billy the kid was shot by Pat Garret

Aerosmith, “Sweet Emotion”:

In the rabbit test for pregnancy, the rabbit always died — it was killed so that its ovaries could be biopsied.

“The Ballad of Billy the Kid” by Billy Joel is full of them.

William Bonney, or Henry McCarty, or whatever his true name was, is believed to have been born in Manhattan, not West Virginia.

Billy the Kid never was a bank robber.

The Kid rode as a part of the Regulators, a group out for revenge for the killing of John Tunstall, a rancher who Billy worked for, during the Lincoln County War.

As everyone knows, Billy was just not well hung. :smiley:
He was shot by Sheriff Pat Garrett.