What’s the most misunderstood song in history?

NEIL A writes ...

I’m not sure it’s the most misunderstood song in history, but surely a contender is Born In The USA.

With its big major chord structure and pounding rhythm it has a triumphant sound. Bruce’s delivery is rather mumbled making the lyric rather hard to make out. This has given many a patriot the impression it’s a song about how great the USA is.

In fact it’s about the USA failing the working class, pushing an unobtainable dream and the problems for the generation of men directly and indirectly affected by the Vietnam war debacle.

SCOTT S writes ...

A lot of good nominations to this question.

I’ll go with ‘Every Breath You Take’ by the Police. Many people think of it as a catchy love song with the chorus expressing deep, permanent love/devotion. The reality is that it is a song about a broken relationship where the jilted ex-lover is basically stalking his former lover, keeping track of every violation/betrayal while bemoaning his suffering due to the breakup. It’s a dark, twisted lyric about obsession and pain…quite the opposite of the common perception. I’m sure that it must be an anthem for stalkers.

MATS A writes ...

My nomination is “This Land Is Your Land”. Most Americans have heard it, but it’s almost always performed without the last three verses:

As I went walking I saw a sign there,
And on the sign it said "No Trespassing."
But on the other side it didn't say nothing.
That side was made for you and me.

In the shadow of the steeple I saw my people,
By the relief office I seen my people;
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking
Is this land made for you and me?

Nobody living can ever stop me,
As I go walking that freedom highway;
Nobody living can ever make me turn back
This land was made for you and me.

It’s actually a revolutionary Socialist song, first performed on a guitar on which was written the words “This Machine Kills Fascists”.

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