Songs With a Plot

This morning, for some inexplicable reason, I had this really awful story song stuck in my head, The Last Game of the Season by David Geddes. (link to lyrics, try not to vomit)

I was just wondering what other songs you can think of that are more like a narrative and tell a story.

Another cheesy one I thought of was Run, Joey, Run.

And I think there’s a story in the song about the Tallahatchee bridge, Ode to Billie Joe.

Up the Junction by Squeeze
Auld Lang Syne by Dan Fogleberg

What else ya got?

Pretty much every ballad fits the bill. A few by Nick Cave sprang to mind, especially from his album Murder Ballads.

And many folk songs, protest and otherwise.

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

Almost everything by The Decemberists.

Up The Junction - that’s a good one! Kudos to the OP for even remembering it.

Little Red Corvette by Prince would also fit.

Rocky Raccoon.

Scenes from an Italian Restaurant. Esp the Brenda and Eddie bit.

The 70s were the golden age of ballads. Just a few:

Brandy - Looking Glass
Patches - Clarence Carter
The Ballad of Curtis Loew - Lynyrd Skynyrd
Papa Was a Rolling Stone - The Temptations
Night Moves - Bob Seger

It’s a shame more artists aren’t doing ballads today.

Tweeter and the Monkey Man, by the Traveling Wilburys.

The first song that popped into my mind was Timothy by the Buoys. It’s “the unnerving story of three men trapped in a collapsed mine, two of whom apparently resort to cannibalism against the third (the titular character Timothy).”

Gah, why do I remember this? I probably need to see somebody.

My favorite plot song is “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia”. It’s got adultery, murder and corruption.

Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts - Bob Dylan

Lots of Jim Croce–Bad Leroy Brown, You Don’t Mess Around with Jim, Operator etc

Harry Chapin–Taxi, Cat’s in the Cradle

Kenny Rogers –The Gambler, Coward of the County

Charlie Daniels–The Devil Went Down to Georgia, Uneasy Rider

Lynyrd Skynyrd –The Ballad of Curtis Lowe

Steve Earl–Copperhead Road

Johnny Horton–The Battle of New Orleans,Sink the Bismark

Don McClean–American Pie

Peter, Paul, & Mary–Puff the Magic Dragon

That’s just the song I was going to cite. I’m surprised someone has not yet turned it into a movie.


The Who: Sally Simpson, A Quick One While He’s Away, Magic Bus, I Can See for Miles, 905, My Wife, Cousin Kevin,
The Kinks: Lola, Sitting in the Noonday Sun
The Beatles: She’s Leaving Home, Rocky Raccoon.
The Byrds: Chestnut Mare
Lyle Lovett: Nobody Knows Me, L.A. County, She’s No Lady, Church, San Antonio Girl, On Saturday Night, If I Had a Boat
Little Feet: Dixie Chicken
Loudon Wainwright III: The Man Who Couldn’t Cry
Hayes Carll: She Left Me For Jesus
The Band: The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, The Weight, Acadian Driftwood
Procol Harum: Something Following Me, The Milk of Human Kindness, She Wandered through the Garden Fence, Something Following Me
Traffic: Feelin’ Alright
Warren Zevon: Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner, Lawyers Guns and Money, Excitable Boy

Weird Al Yankovic: The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota; The Saga Begins
The Kinks: Holiday Romance
Mono Puff: The Devil Went Down To Newport (Totally Rocking)

And more are mentioned in this thread, which reminded me of the greatest one of all: Barry Manilow’s Copacabana.

Marty Robbins: El Paso

Jan and Dean: Dead Man’s Curve

Shangri-La’s: Leader of the Pack

Jeannie C. Riley Harper Valley PTA

O.C. Smith The Son of Hickory Hollow’s Tramp

Janis Ian: Society’s Child

Bobbie Gentry Ode to Billie Joe

Meat Loaf Paradise By the Dashboard Light

Also from the sultry Bobbie Gentry, Fancy.

Bruce Springsteen has many songs that fit this, but I’ll offer an overlooked one.

A few Country songs have been mentioned. Let’s include pretty much the songbook of Tom T. Hall. There was a reason his band was nicknamed “The Storytellers.”

Lynyrd Skynyrd, Gimme Three Steps

Heard a cover of this by some local band. They got the verses out of order. So the guy was running from the bar screaming, then staring down the barrel of a 44. :confused: