Out past the cornfields where the woods got heavy ...
Stanza: Out in the back seat of my '60 Chevy.
Song: Night Moves
Artist: Bob Seger
Year: 1976, Chart: 4
Theme: Autobiographical about a young couple losing their virginity in a Chevy. The girl had a boyfriend away in the military, and when he came back, she married him, breaking Seger's heart.
He wants to dream like a young man
With the wisdom of an old man
He wants his home and security ...
Stanza: He wants to live like a sailor at sea
Song: Beautiful Loser
Artist: Bob Seger
Year: 1975, Chart: ??
Theme: This is about people who set their goals so low that they never achieve anything. It is not about Seger personally.
Mother, mother ocean, I have heard you call,
Wanted to sail upon your waters ...
Stanza: Since I was three feet tall
Song: A Pirate Looks at Forty
Artist: Jimmy Buffett
Year: 1974, Chart: ??
Theme: This song is about an old friend - who couldn't fit in with the rest of the world and turned to smuggling as a means of support.
He's somewhere on the ocean now, that's where he oughta be
With one hand on the starboard rail ...
Stanza: he's wavin' back at me
Song: The Captain and the Kid
Artist: Jimmy Buffett
Year: 1970, Chart: ??
Theme: A record executive told Buffett the song was too sad and that he'd have to change the ending so that "The Captain" didn't die. Buffett refused "because in the real world he did." It's about his grandfather
She cries alone at night too often ...
Stanza: He smokes and drinks and don't come home at all
Song: Only Women Bleed
Artist: Alice Cooper
Year: 1975, Chart: 12
Theme: Several feminist groups protested this song, but it is actually a sympathetic look at domestic abuse. It's a rare song where Cooper doesn't try to shock, but takes the side of the victim.
Am I hard enough
Am I rough enough
Am I rich enough ...
Stanza: I'm not too blind to see
Song: Beast of Burden
Artist: Rolling Stones
Year: 1978, Chart: 8
Theme: Written by Keith Richards as a kind of homage to Mick for having to carry the band while Keith was strung out on heroin.
We might still have time, we might still get by ...
Stanza: Every time I think about it, I wanna cry
Song: Crazy on You
Year: 1976, Chart: 35
Theme: Ann and Nancy Wilson wrote this about Mike Fisher, who was an original guitarist for Heart. He and Ann were dating.
Is a very very very fine house
With two cats in the yard ...
Stanza: Life used to be so hard
Song: Our House
Artist: Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young
Year: 1970, Chart: 30
Theme: Graham Nash wrote this sentimental tune about his cohabitation with Joni Mitchell in a cottage in L.A.'s Laurel Canyon around 1969.
Bye bye baby, it's been sweet love, yeah, yeah ...
Stanza: Though this feeling I can't change
Song: Free Bird
Artist: Lynyrd Skynyrd
Year: 1973, Chart: 19
Theme: Collins wrote the music long before Ronnie Van Zant came up with lyrics for it. The lyrics are about a man explaining to a girl why he can't settle down and make a commitment.
Well I went and seen the doctor
And he gave me the cure ...
Stanza: I think I got it some more
Song: Cat Scratch Fever
Artist: Ted Nugent
Year: 1977, Chart: 30
Theme: Cat Scratch Fever is a real condition - an infectious disease caused by a cat scratch. Nugent changes the meaning to make it much more lustful, with the "cats" being women. The song is about sex and his rampant desire for it.
I feel my temperature rising
Higher higher ...
Stanza: It's burning through to my soul
Song: Burning Love
Artist: Elvis Presley
Year: 1972, Chart: 2
Theme: About the breakdown of a relationship, Elvis had just separated from his wife, Priscilla, and was not in the mood for a Rock n Roll number, so he wasn't keen to record it.
It seemed like he knew me
He looked right through me, yeah ...
Stanza: "Come on home, girl" he said with a smile
Song: Magic Man
Year: 1976, Chart: 9
Theme: The "Magic Man" is Mike Fisher, the group's original guitarist. He was Ann Wilson's boyfriend, and she followed him to Canada during the Vietnam War years so he wouldn't get drafted.
I see a man at the back
As a matter of fact his eyes are as red as the sun
And a girl in the corner let no one ignore her ...
Stanza: 'Cause she thinks she's the passionate one
Song: Ballroom Blitz
Year: 1976, Chart: 5
Theme: This song was inspired by an incident in 1973 when the band were performing at the Grand Hall in Kilmarnock, Scotland and were driven offstage by a barrage of bottles.
Now Muscle Shoals has got the swampers
And they've been known to pick a song or two
Lord they get me off so much ...
Stanza: They pick me up when I'm feeling blue
Song: Sweet Home Alabama
Artist: Lynyrd Skynyrd
Year: 1974, Chart: 8
Theme: A song about Southern pride and all the good things in Alabama. The feud between Skynyrd and Neil Young was always good-natured fun; they were actually big fans of each other.
And if the real thing don't do the trick
You better make up something quick ...
Stanza: You're gonna burn, burn, burn, burn, burn it to the wick
Year: 1977, Chart: 11
Theme: According to the band, this is a statement about the record industry in general. It was written at a time when there was friction between the band and their label.
I've paid my dues
Time after time
I've done my sentence ...
Stanza: But committed no crime
Song: We Are the Champions
Year: 1977, Chart: 4
Theme: Freddie Mercury: "I was thinking about football when I wrote it. I wanted a participation song, something that the fans could latch on to.
Now you're climbin' to the top of the company ladder
Hope it doesn't take too long
Can'tcha see there'll come a day when it won't matter ...
Stanza: Come a day when you'll be gone
Song: Peace of Mind
Year: 1976, Chart: 38
Theme: Boston founder Tom Scholz wrote this song while he was working as a senior engineer at the Polaroid corporation. The song is about finding your passion and feeling fulfilled.
Your hands build me up when I'm sinking ...
Stanza: Touch me and my troubles abate
Year: 1973, Chart: 6
Theme: Dennis DeYoung wrote this about his wife Suzanne, who he met in school. He has exclaimed many times how much he loves her and what an important part of his life she was.
Someone told me long ago
There's a calm
Before the storm
I know ...
Stanza: And it's been comin' for some time
Song: Have You Ever Seen the Rain?
Artist: Creedence Clearwater Revival
Year: 1971, Chart: 8
Theme: Fogerty's take on the imminent departure of his brother Tom from the band. The line, "I want to know -- have you ever seen the rain comin' down on a sunny day?" refers to Tom leaving while CCR was at its commercial zenith.
Won't you look down upon me Jesus
You got to help me make a stand
You just got to see me through another day ...
Stanza: My body's achin' and my time is at hand
Song: Fire and Rain
Artist: James Taylor
Year: 1970, Chart: 3
Theme: This is about the high and low points of Taylor's life. He was only 20 when he wrote this, but was battling depression and drug addiction.