Whether the songs are about a broken heart, friendship, family loyalty, or just their talent, strut, or attitude, real women have been tantalizing artists and leading them to songwriting inspiration as far back as the days of Beethoven.
Few know the stories behind many of history's greatest musical odes to women. Here are just a few favorites...
LOLA - The Kinks
Written By: Ray Davies, 1970 Written For: Candy Darling
Although Davies later waters down his explanation for the song's inspiration by claiming that the song was inspired by his manager dancing on a bar room table with a transgender he initially believed was a woman, an earlier account to Rolling Stone magazine indicates that the song was written about Candy Darling, a regular in Andy Warhol's entourage, who Ray Davies allegedly dated for a time. Possibly the most immortalized transvestite in history, Candy Darling is also the focus in Lou Reed’s classic song “Walk On the Wild Side.”
Wild Horses - The Rolling Stones
Written By: Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, 1971 Written For: Marianne Faithfull
The hit ballad from English rock band The Rolling Stones, “Wild Horses” comes from a place of sadness in the heart of lead singer Mick Jagger. The tune was written about Marianne Faithfull, Jagger’s ex-girlfriend, depicting their lost relationship.
The Stones also paid homage to another Jagger girlfriend Marsha Hunt in their jazzy “Brown Sugar.” It is often speculated that the song was written with backup singer Claudia Lennear in mind instead of Hunt, but the only conclusion one can come to is that, well, the Stones had no idea who inspired what.
Dear Mama - Tupak Shakur
Written By: Tupac Shakur, 1994 Written For: Afeni Shakur
The touching homage to his favorite lady, Tupac Shakur’s “Dear Mama” rapped about difficult issues of drug addiction, poverty and domestic violence. Despite rough times between the often outspoken rapper and his mother, the pair reconciled shortly before Tupac’s death in 1996. Honoring his life-giver in a similar way, rapper Kanye West wrote “Hey Mama” saying, “I wanna scream so loud for you/ 'Cause I’m so proud of you,” in a tribute to “Mama” Donda West.
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