13 Facts About Backstage Songs


Alicia Keys wrote ‘If I don’t have you’ when she heard of Aaliyah’s tragic death.


Alanis Morissette’s legendary ’90s anthem “You Oughta Know” is do not about Dave Coulier, aka Uncle Joey, of Full house.

In the HBO documentary series, Music BoxAlanis Morissette addressed the ongoing rumor that began in 1995. In the 2021 episode titled “Little shredded pill“, Morissette revealed, “It’s funny, because I was dating so many more people than [Dave Coulier], but because of “You Oughta Know” and people saying it was about Dave Coulier, all the attention was like, “She dated a person!” There were about eight people who claimed the song was about them, and I’m always like, “Who East this? It’s interesting that you think this song is talking youeh?'”

Maverick / Reprise

26 years earlier in Billboard, Morissette opened up about the emotional experience of recording “You Oughta Know” (instead of focusing on the distracting rumor). She noted“I wasn’t aware of what was coming out of me. I would go into the booth when the ink wasn’t even dry and I would sing. I would listen the next day and I didn’t really remember it. “


Rihanna and Jay-Z’s ‘Umbrella’ is actually talking God.

The song’s co-writer, The-Dream, originally wrote it for Britney Spears during a tough time in her career in the late 2000s. noted“Britney was starting to work on [Blackout], and her personal life was a little out of control. We were like, ‘Let’s save our friend, let’s give her a record.'”

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Apparently someone from Spears’ team refuse the song without his knowledge.

Rihanna eventually recorded “Umbrella” and made the song an instant classic. The-Dream claimed he was “thinking of God” at first while writing the hit. “As, God would say, ‘I have you under my umbrella. I will protect you.'”


Queen’s “We Will Rock You” was written specifically for their fans. One night after a gig in England ended, Queen fans stayed and serenaded the band with a song.

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Brian May, lead guitarist of Queen, noted: ‘We did an encore and then we left, and instead of applauding, they sang’You will never walk alone‘ for us, and we were completely knocked out and caught off guard. It was quite an emotional experience, really, and I think these chants are kind of connected to that… I went to bed thinking, ‘What could you ask them to do? ‘”

EMI / Elektra

“They’re all stuck in there, but they can clap, they can stomp and they can sing,” noted May. “In the morning, I woke up and I had the idea in my head of ‘We Will Rock You’.”


Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” is do not about her first sexual encounter – it’s actually the thrill of falling in love again.

One of the 80s hit’s co-writers, Billy Steinberg, revealed the song wasn’t written with Madonna in mind. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, he noted“I was saying maybe I wasn’t really a ‘virgin’ – I’ve been beaten romantically and emotionally like a lot of people – but I’m starting a new relationship, and it feels so good. It heals all the wounds and making me feel like I’ve never done this before because it’s so much deeper and deeper than anything I’ve ever felt.”

24 years after the release of “Like a Virgin”, Madonna said in an interview with Z100 that she was tired of playing the song on tour: “I’m not sure I can sing ‘Holiday’ or ‘Like a Virgin’ again. I just can’t (unless someone pays me, like, $30 million or something like that).”


“Oops (Oh My)” by Tweet is NOT about masturbation – it’s really about having confidence in your body and your mind.

The song’s co-writer, Missy Elliott, revealed the song’s true meaning on Twitter in 2021. Elliott tweeted: “#FunFact this song was never about masturbation — it was always about [Tweet] enjoying her dark skin (self-love) when she looked in the mirror. It was the listeners who thought it was about sex and just got away with it. We just let consumers’ minds create what they wanted.”


Katy Perry recently revealed on american idol that the actual lyrics of the “Firework” chorus are “Awe, awe, awe”, NOT “Oh, oh, oh”. So, yes: we sang badly all the time!

At american idolPear corrected Luke Bryan when he started singing the chorus badly. She said, “It’s not, ‘Up, up, up’ and not, ‘Uh, uh, uh.’ It’s, ‘Awe, awe, awe’ – AWE.” Bryan knowingly asked if “awe” was in the dictionary, and Perry replied with a firm, “Yes, it is.”

“Firework” was also inspired by Jack Kerouac’s classic 1957 novel On the road. Katy Perry uploaded a specific passage that inspired the hit on her Instagram.


“Moonlight” by Jay-Z from his album 4:44 talks about the Best Picture incident at the 2017 Oscars, and how The Earth was announced the winner when really Moonlight won the golden statue.

In a 2017 iHeart Radio interview, Jay-Z explained the meaning behind each song on 4:44. When it came to “Moonlight”, he revealed“The hook is ‘We’re stuck in La La Land, even if we win, we’ll lose.’ It’s like a subtle nod to The Earth win the Oscar, then have to give it to Moonlight. It’s really a commentary on the culture and where we’re going.”

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Jay-Z’s music video for “Moonlight“, featuring famous actors like Issa Rae, Tessa Thompson and LaKeith Stanfield, adds an additional commentary to “culture”. It basically illustrates how Friends was the “winning sitcom” of the 90s, when in reality the premise was Fly from To live alone.

Warner Bros. / Courtesy of Everett Collection / NBC / Courtesy of Everett Collection


Ricky Martin’s 1999 “Livin’ la Vida Loca” is the first song in music history to be digitally recorded (with zero use of analog) to reach number 1.

“Livin’ la Vida Loca” co-writer Desmond Child noted: “We were the first to record and mix a disc [in] what they called “in the box” in Pro Tools. One of the things about this new sound of digital is that it had a kind of metallic sound to it, and to compensate for that metallic sound, we made it drier than Latin music ever had summer (which sounds more like ambient dance music).”

This success forever changed the approach to music recording, according to Child. “We have [Ricky Martin’s] fair voice in everyone’s face. It really worked, and from that momentnothing ever sounded like before.”


Stephanie Beatriz, who plays Mirabel Madrigal in the iconic Disney film Encantorecorded “Waiting on a Miracle” as she was about to give birth.

In a recent interview with Variety, Beatriz revealed“I didn’t want to tell anyone at Disney because I didn’t want anyone to freak out. But, I was already in contractions when we were to record that day — I was like, ‘Well, I’m crossing fingers finish the song before [the baby] come!'”

Variety reported that Beatriz’s daughter was born the day after “Waiting on a Miracle” was recorded (a miracle indeed!!!)


Dolly Parton used her acrylic nails to write “9 to 5” because she thought it looked like a typewriter.

Parton reflected on the time she spent writing the title track for 9 to 5 to The show tonight in 2019, telling Jimmy Fallon, “When I wrote this song, I used my acrylic nails on set. I did it because they make noise, and it kind of sounded like a machine to write for me. And I played it on the actual record – it says ‘Nails by Dolly’ on the album!”


The inspiration behind “Closer” by the Chainsmokers and Halsey is Blink-182, and others 2000s rock bandswho were outspoken when it came to writing their lyrics.

Disruptor / Colombia

In the song’s second verse, Taggart shouts directly at Blink-182, “Stay and play that Blink-182 song / That we beat to death in Tucson.”

According to Drew Taggart (one half of the electric pop duo), “We had listened to all that Blink-182 and Dashboard Confessional – all those guys just saying how it is.”

And when it came to writing “Closer,” the Chainsmokers took that inspiration and let it flow into their lyrics. Taggart noted“I want to do a very visual song that’s an unsexy sex scene, and I want to speak to someone that I’m [not] in love with, [but that] I am indifferent. The song is the culmination of pretty much all of my ex-girlfriends and all of my old friends.”

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Alicia Keys wrote “If I Ain’t Got You” on a plane immediately after discovering that Aaliyah was dead in a plane crash.

In an interview for The voice in 2017, Keys noted“I wrote it right after finding out that Aaliyah had died and I was on a plane. I think being on the plane and knowing that she died after a plane crash – there was just that feeling of being present in the moment and really nothing else that matters except the ones you love.”

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Keys spoke candidly about the difficult production process of “If I Ain’t Got You” and how it turned out one of his favorite songs. She said: “I remember I wrote it really fast, but to produce it the way you want it took forever. Every arrangement I made was wrong. You never really know what will come out, [and] you never know who will fall in love with them.”


And Harry Styles wrote “Falling” in just one shower towel with Thin line songwriter and producer, Kid Harpoon, in just 20 minutes.

In an interview for Apple Music, Styles said it only took him 20 minutes to write the emotional ballad “Fall“: “I went out to dinner and they came to pick me up [Kid Harpoon’s] lodge. When I got out of the shower, he was playing. I went to stand next to him at the piano, just in a towel, and we wrote everything down.”

Styles spoke candidly about his emotional state writing “Falling”, claiming that while he was recording Thin line“The times I felt good and happy were the happiest I’ve ever felt in my life, and the times I felt sad were the lowest I’ve ever felt in my life.”

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Do you *have any fun song facts up your sleeve? Share with us in the comments below!


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