The songwriting team Leiber and Stoller wrote "Hound Dog" for a blues singer named Big Mama Thronton, who first recorded the song in 1953. Elvis covered it in 1956, and it became his biggest hit.
Adele got the title "Rolling In The Deep" from the British saying "Roll Deep," which means to look after someone. She was "rolling deep" with her boyfriend until he betrayed her.
Buck Dharma of Blue Oyster Cult wrote "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" after he was diagnosed with a heart condition and started thinking about his own mortality.
"Mr. Roboto" by Styx was written by their keyboard player, Dennis DeYoung, who used Japanese words and imagery to create an allegory about censorship.
"No Scrubs" introduced the term "scrub" to the popular lexicon, and defined it in the opening lines ("a scrub is a guy that think he's fine...").
Elton John had a huge hit duetting with Kiki Dee on "Don't Go Breaking My Heart," but he's also performed it with RuPaul and Miss Piggy.
How well do you know your protest songs (including the one that went to #1)?
After studying in Paris with a famous composition teacher, Charles became the most successful writer of TV theme songs.
When televangelists like Jimmy Swaggart took on rockers like Ozzy Osbourne and Metallica, the rockers retaliated. Bono could even be seen mocking the preachers.
When Judd Apatow needed under-appreciated rockers for his Knocked Up sequel, he immediately thought of Parker, who just happened to be getting his band The Rumour back together.
"I'll Be" was what Edwin called his "Hail Mary" song. He says it proves "intention of the songwriter is 180 degrees from potential interpretation by an audience."
Howard explains his positive songwriting method and how uplifting songs can carry a deeper message.