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.
for the full list. Want more stories behind the songs? Click here