The famous chorus is taken directly from the 1984 old school Hip-Hop song "The Roof Is On Fire" by Rock Master Scott & the Dynamic Three.
The lyrics: "So if man is five and the Devil is six than that must make me seven this honky's gone to heaven" are a direct reference to the Pixies' "Monkey Gone To Heaven," (in which it concludes "Then God is Seven").
Some people mentioned in the lyrics: Han Solo, Barry White, Frank Black, J.F.K., Marvin Gaye, Martha Raye, Lawrence Welk, Kurt Cobain, Kojak, Mark Twain, Jimi Hendrix, Emmanuel Lewis.
Suggestion credit: Martin - Rostock, Germany, for all above
This song is a send-up of rap music clichés, including rappers who implore their audience to "throw their hands in the air" and make constant pop culture references for no apparent reason.
This was used in the movies Fahrenheit 9/11 and The Nutty Professor.
Sam from New YorkTo correct the previous two comments: The lyric "The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire (We don't need no water, let the motherf--ker burn)(Burn, motherf--ker, burn)" is lifted directly from Rock Master Scott and The Dynamic Three's rap song, "The Roof Is On Fire," which was released in 1984. The MOVE bombing/fire did not occur until May 1985, a year or so later.
Chris from Philadelphia, PaTo correct a previous comment…"The Roof is On Fire" is a song based on a May 13, 1985 incident where Philly Police attempted to serve warrants on a residence where a "back to Africa" group was living. The group, named "MOVE", resisted with gun fire, and proceeded to barricade themselves in the home. The police attempted to end the stand-off peacefully, but it escalated to a small incendiary device being dropped on the roof via helicopter. The resulting fire could not be extinguished by fire fighters.
Brooke from Des Moines, IaMy friend's grandma told me this song was about how in Philly people were burning down black peoples houses, and that's what the black people were singing. And she would know, she's from Philly.
John Lennon's lead guitar work on Yoko Ono's "Walking On Thin Ice" proved to be his final creative act. It was upon their return home after completing laying down the track that Lennon was murdered by Mark David Chapman.
"Bittersweet Symphony" by The Verve samples an obscure orchestral arrangement of the 1965 Rolling Stones song "The Last Time." The Verve had to sign away most of the royalties before they could release the song.
Jimi Hendrix opened for The Monkees on their 1967 tour, and it did not go well. The young, mostly female crowd shouted "Davy" when Hendrix sang the word "Lady" in "Foxy Lady" in honor of who they came to see: Monkees lead singer Davy Jones.
"Cleveland Rocks" was written by an Englishman. Ian Hunter wrote the song after touring America in the late '70s and finding that Cleveland was by far the most receptive city to his brand of Glam Rock.
"Pretty In Pink" by Psychedelic Furs was released in 1981. Five years later, it inspired a movie of the same name starring Molly Ringwald, Andrew McCarthy and Jon Cryer. The song was remixed for the re-release to have more Pop appeal.