Pop songs that aren't about romance

That’s an exaggeration. Here are some songs from the twenties and thirties that aren’t about love, dance crazes or the south:

Chicago (That Toddlin’ Town)

Sister Kate

Pack up Your Sins and Go to the Devil

Barney Google

It Ain’t Gonna Rain No Mo’

Yes! We Have No Bananas

Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out

Cake Walking Babies from Home

California, Here I Come

Does the Spearmint Lose Its Flavor on the Bedpost Over Night?

Fascinating Rhythm

Hard Hearted Hannah

The Prisoner’s Song

wreck of the Old '97


The Death of Floyd Collins

My Yiddishe Momme

The Birth of the Blues

Breezin’ Along with the Breeze

I’m Just Wild About Animal Crackers

When the Red, Red Robin Comes Bob, Bob, Bobbin’ Along

Abdul Abulbul Amir

Crazy Words, Crazy Tune

Doctor Jazz

Me and My Shadow

Shaking the Blues Away

Henry’s Made a Lady out of Lizzie

I Faw Down an’ Go Boom!

I’m wild About Horns on Automobiles That Go “Ta-Ta-Ta-Ta”

In the Jailhouse Now

The Lonesome Road

Ol’ Man River

Ready for the River

Sonny Boy

When You’re Smiling

Broadway Melody

Happy Days Are Here Again

Painting the Clouds with Sunshine

Piccolo Pete

Singin’ in the Bathtub

Tain’t No Sin (To Take off Your Skin and Dance Around in Your Bones)

Hittin’ the Bottle

I’m a Ding Dong Daddy from Dumas

The Man from the South (with a Big Cigar in His Mouth)

Mysterious Mose

On Revival Day

On the Sunny Side of the Street

Puttin’ on the Ritz

Sing You Sinners

Strike up the Band

I Love a Parade

Mad Dogs and Englishmen

Brother Can You Spare a Dime

It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)

Let’s All Sing Like the Birdies Sing

Let’s Have Another Cup of Coffee

Shout, Sister, Shout

Forty-Second Street

Gimme a Pigfoot

Hallelujah, I’m a Bum

We’re in the Money

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?

Fare-Thee-Well to Harlem

On the Good Ship Lollipop

Tumbling Tumbleweeds

Animal Crackers in My Soup

Mrs. Worthington (Don’t Put Your Daughter on the Stage)

The Music Goes 'Round and 'Round


Top Hat, White Tie and Tails

What a Wonderful World

Breakin’ in a Pair of Shoes

I Hope Gabriel Likes My Music

Pennies from Heaven

Pick Yourself up

San Francisco

Johnny One Note

The Lady Is a Tramp

A-Tisket A-Tasket

The Flat Foot Floogie

Joe Hill

Lambeth Walk

Beer Barrel Polka

Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead

God Bless America

If I Only Had a Brain

Over the Rainbow

So Long, It’s Been Good to Know Yuh

Strange Fruit

Three Little Fishies

We’re Off to See the Wizard

Some pop songs are about cars: Little Deuce Coupe, Mercury Blues, Rocket 88

Or history: The Battle of New Orleans, The Night Chicago Died, Song of the South

Social protest: 99 Luftballoons, Keep On Rocking in the Free World, I’m Not Ready to Make Nice

Or ponies: A Horse with No Name, Wildfire, If I Had a Boat, Ride 'Em Cowboy

Strange Fruit isn’t about the South?

Warrant “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”
Vixen “Hard 16”
Europe “Cherokee”, “Ninja”, “Final Countdown”

Popular songs not about romance?

Here are two topics about as far from romance as you might imagine:

a) Cannibalism: “Timothy” by the Buoys, reached #17 on Billboard in 1971

b) Tooth Decay: “Savoy Truffle” by the Beatles, album reached #1 (not sure if it was ever released as a single), and “Ache” by No Doubt (but didn’t chart as far as I can tell).

OK, I’ll give you that one - most lynchings happened in the south. But in that era, most of the songs about the south were about how wonderful it was - songs like Basin Street Blues and Carolina Moon. I took Beware of Doug’s comment in that vein.