Sure, everyone knows that Eric Clapton’s “Tears in Heaven” is about about his son falling from a window, Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain” may or may not be about Warren Beatty, and “In the Air Tonight” is not about watching someone drown. But there are plenty of other less well-documented backstories behind popular songs — like the one that surfaced over the weekend about The Beatles’ “Get Back” starting its life as a dubious satire called “No Pakistanis.” Wisely, the band rewrote the lyrics before releasing the song, but it remains a pretty fascinating piece of history, and our cue to discuss the less-documented stories lurking behind some of the songs in our iTunes collection.
The Flaming Lips — “The Spiderbite Song”
If you watched the excellent Soft Bulletin documentary that premiered on Pitchfork last month, you’ll know that the “spiderbite” in question is one that drummer Stephen Drozd allegedly suffered during the recording of the album. It slowly became clear that he hadn’t been bitten by a spider at all — the marks in question were from shooting heroin, which Drozd was doing an awful lot at the time.