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Random Songs About Historical Events That Are Surprisingly Accurat

  • Hurricane on Random Songs About Historical Events That Are Surprisingly Accurat

    (#6) Hurricane

    • Bob Dylan

    What It’s About: Released in 1975, Bob Dylan's "Hurricane" recounts the unjust prosecution and incarceration of Rubin "Hurricane" Carter. Carter, a boxer from New Jersey, was convicted (twice) of triple homicide in 1967, ultimately spending 19 years in jail for crimes he didn't commit. While Carter wasn't released from prison until 1985, his case received widespread attention during the 1970s.

    What It Gets Right: Dylan had Carter's autobiography in hand when he wrote "Hurricane," a resource that allowed him to draw upon the titular figure's view of events. The names in the song refer to real players like Alfred Bellow and Arthur Dexter Bradley - two career criminals who claimed to have seen Carter at the scene of the crime. All the names are real, which was controversial, with bartender Patty Valentine suing the singer for defamation of character.

    "Hurricane" includes lyrics that reflect the social context within which Carter was accused and convicted, an issue that remains at the forefront of conversation in 2020: "If you're Black you might as well not show up on the street/Less you wanna draw the heat."

    Carter and his fellow defendant, John Artis, were initially detained simply because they were in a car that resembled the one involved in the shooting. Even after a witness failed to identify them as the offenders, they remained under suspicion. 

    Where It Falls Short: Dylan calls Carter a “Number one contender for the middleweight crown," a designation that remains somewhat unclear. While he did fight for the middleweight championship against Joey Giardello in 1964, Carter won four fights in 1966 and was ranked fourth in the world

  • The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down on Random Songs About Historical Events That Are Surprisingly Accurat

    (#9) The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down

    • The Band

    What It’s About: Written from the viewpoint of Confederate soldier Virgil Caine, "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" describes the final days of the Civil War. Listeners hear about the struggles of early 1865 leading up to the fall of Richmond, Virginia, in spring of that year

    What It Gets Right: "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" places Caine along the "Danville Train," a fundamental supply line to the Confederacy during the Civil War until Union General George Stoneman and his cavalry raided and destroyed large sections of its tracks.

    Where It Falls Short: Even though the song's narrator, Caine, returns home to Tennessee after the war, the line “Back with my wife in Tennessee... There goes Robert E. Lee," offers no historical truth. Lee moved to Virginia with his family and took a job as president of Washington College, with no indication that he ever visited Tennessee. 

  • Buffalo Soldier on Random Songs About Historical Events That Are Surprisingly Accurat

    (#1) Buffalo Soldier

    • Bob Marley & The Wailers

    What It’s About: "Buffalo Soldier" tells the story of African-American cavalry and infantrymen who fought for the United States during the late 19th century. Largely tasked with securing the expanding American West, Buffalo Soldiers fought against Native Americans during the American-Indian Wars until the 1890s and in the Caribbean as part of the Spanish-American War in 1898.

    What It Gets Right: Bob Marley and the Wailers correctly describe the Buffalo Soldiers as "taken from Africa, brought to America," with many of the men having formerly been slaves.

    Where It Falls Short: "Buffalo Soldier" accurately depicts the circumstances and activities of its namesake group. Just as the song indicates, Buffalo Soldiers did fight in conflicts like the Battle of San Juan Hill. The poignant lyrics point out how Buffalo Soldiers went from "Fighting on arrival, fighting for survival" in servitude only to take up arms "in the war for America." 

  • Smoke on the Water on Random Songs About Historical Events That Are Surprisingly Accurat

    (#5) Smoke on the Water

    • Deep Purple, Flashback!, Joe Satriani

    What It’s About: The fire that broke out at the Montreux Casino in Switzerland on December 4, 1971, resulted from an incident during a Deep Purple concert. As Deep Purple played their song "King Kong," a concert-goer purportedly fired a flare gun, setting a nearby wooden roof on fire. The fire was devastating for the casino, although there were only minor injuries reported.

    What It Gets Right: As witnesses to the entire event, Deep Purple got the details right when they wrote "Smoke on the Water." The casino, called the "gambling house," did burn down as "Funky Claude was running in and out pulling kids out the ground." The Claude in question was Claude Nobs, co-founder of the Montreux Jazz Festival, who helped rescue some people in the fire. As the band looked out across Lake Geneva, they very literally saw smoke on the water.

    Where It Falls Short: Widely believed to have been started by a flare gun - a fact included in the song - there was some dispute over the cause of the fire. Concert-goer Peter Schneider asserts that the fire actually started by a "boy throwing lighted matches in the air, and one of them got stuck on the very low ceiling... So the fire started right above where the boy was sitting on the low-lying ceiling beams."

  • American Witch on Random Songs About Historical Events That Are Surprisingly Accurat

    (#2) American Witch

    • Rob Zombie

    What It’s About: Aptly named, "American Witch" tells the story of the Salem witch trials. The trials began in 1692 and lasted until the following year, with roughly 200 individuals accused of witchcraft during the proceedings. 

    What It Gets Right: The lyrics of Rob Zombie's "American Witch" incorporate details derived from firsthand accounts of events leading up to the trials. Bridget Bishop, one of the 20 individuals executed during the trials, was associated with a mysterious, evil creature - "the body of it looked like a monkey, only the feet were like a cock's feet with claws" - imagery echoed in the first verse of the song.

    Throughout the song, Zombie cries out about “20 innocents” for whom "we pray for... bow down [to]... hang high... [and] accused," a proper reference to the 20 people who perished during the trials.

    Where It Falls Short: All facts are apparently accurate, complete with a description of the accused witches' final moments, standing "Alone on the hill and ready to die." The hill in question is Gallows Hill, the site where Bishop and 18 additional convicted witches were hanged. 

  • Rasputin on Random Songs About Historical Events That Are Surprisingly Accurat

    (#11) Rasputin

    • Boney M.

    What It’s About: "Rasputin" articulates the events of the titular character's rise to prominence in 19th-century Russia. Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin was a mystic who was pulled into the circle of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia to serve as an advisor, in large part due to his purported supernatural abilities.

    What It Gets Right: As the 1979 hit by Boney M. indicates, Rasputin did preach, teach, and evoke terror. He ingratiated himself with Tsar Nicholas and his wife, Tsarina Alexandra, especially as the latter tried to heal her son from hemophilia. Alexandra, correctly noted by Boney M., "heard he was a holy healer who could heal her son."

    Rasputin did enjoy his alcohol, as pointed out by Boney M., and his influence upon the royals drew the ire of the Russian aristocracy. On December 29, 1916, Rasputin was served poisoned wine and fed cyanide-laced desserts. Neither ended Rasputin's life and, as the song indicates, he felt fine. As a result, his assassins then shot him - also in the song - and then threw his body into the Neva River.

    Where It Falls Short: Boney M.'s song draws heavily on the rumors of a romantic relationship between Rasputin and the tsarina. Widespread suspicion of the "Mad Monk" did lead to assertions that the two were romantically involved, but there was never any evidence of an affair. 

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About This Tool

Music often reflects real life, and the source of art is life. The music artist is good at expressing their personal opinions in songs and discussing the details of the events section by section. There’s something particularly satisfying about a song that tells a story. A number of songs are about real people and cataclysmic moments in history. Music is closely related to many important moments.

Do you know any songs related to history? The random tool has generated 13 items, including some songs about historical events that are surprisingly accurate. Welcome to check this interesting collection of songs and leave a message.    

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