The Real Stories Behind 10 Famous Songs

Even 'I Kissed a Girl' not as obvious as it sounds

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 21, 2010 3:49 PM CST

(Newser) – In honor of Jay-Z’s Decoded, which breaks down the meanings behind his songs, the Independent offers up the true stories behind 10 hits:

  • Katy Perry, “I Kissed a Girl”: The message behind this one seems fairly obvious, but Perry has insisted it’s actually about heterosexual friendships and was only sexed up to sell more records.
  • Van Morrison, “Brown Eyed Girl”: Though many think it’s about heroin use, Van Morrison has said it is about an interracial relationship and was originally titled “Brown Skinned Girl.”

  • Bruce Springsteen, “Born in the USA”: It gets used as a patriotic anthem quite a bit, but it’s actually about a Vietnam veteran trying to adjust after returning home.
  • The Libertines, “What Katie Did”: Widely believed to be about Pete Doherty’s ex-girlfriend Kate Moss, this song was actually written in 2004—about another Katie—a year before Doherty and Moss met.
Click here for the full list. Want more stories behind the songs? Click here or here.

US singer Katy Perry performs at the MTV European Music Awards 2010 concert, in Independence Square, Madrid, Sunday, Nov. 7, 2010.
US singer Katy Perry performs at the MTV European Music Awards 2010 concert, in Independence Square, Madrid, Sunday, Nov. 7, 2010.   (AP Photo/Angel Navarrete)
Recording artist Van Morrison appears on his Imus in the Morning program on the Fox Business Network, in New York Monday, Oct. 26, 2009.
Recording artist Van Morrison appears on his "Imus in the Morning" program on the Fox Business Network, in New York Monday, Oct. 26, 2009.   (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
In this May 13, 2010 file photo, Bruce Springsteen performs during the Rainforest Fund's 21st Birthday Celebration benefit concert at Carnegie Hall in New York.
In this May 13, 2010 file photo, Bruce Springsteen performs during the Rainforest Fund's 21st Birthday Celebration benefit concert at Carnegie Hall in New York.   (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow, file)
Pete Doherty, left, and Carl Barat of The Libertines performing on the Main Stage at the Reading Festival, in Reading, southern England, Saturday, Aug. 28, 2010.
Pete Doherty, left, and Carl Barat of The Libertines performing on the Main Stage at the Reading Festival, in Reading, southern England, Saturday, Aug. 28, 2010.   (AP Photo/PA, Yui Mok)
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