quality posts: 16 Private Messages WootBot


Happy Music Monday! Today Scott's jumping in to the huge mess that is story songs. Everyone knows at least one song with way, way, way too much plot. But are there five? Well, sadly… yes. And you're about to endure them. Let's start with a "classic" of the "genre"...

Kenny Rogers - Coward Of The County


Before he sold chicken, Kenny Rogers had this hit about a guy who was chicken. It's a simple story of a man who takes revenge on some bad guys who attacked his lady, and yet… it's just hideous. Maybe it's the weird way it turns sexual assault into a man's story of finding his courage, or maybe it's how they make turning the other cheek into "crawling" or maybe it's just the happy crackin' guitar in the background. Whatever it is, this song is like listening to a stranger's story when you only came in to the bar watch the game.

Well, not every song can be Ice Cube's "It Was A Good Day." See you after the jump?

Harry Chapin - Sequel


It's hard to hear Harry Chapin's Taxi and feel let down. Though it's long and dramatic, the original song is really a nice story of a man and a woman and how life sometimes takes you places you can't expect. But "Sequel" here feels like Harry look at his bank statement and made a judgement call. "Sequel" does work as a nice metaphor though; a perfect example of why you shouldn't go back to the things you've loved and lost and try to begin them again.

Elvis - In The Ghetto


This song is absolutely one of the weirdest musical experiences a person can have. It's a gospel song, at heart, but it's being delivered from a guy who's dressed like a superhero. A lovely voice sings about a child's runny nose. The story is kinda Curtis Mayfield but it was embraced by radio stations that wouldn't go near black music. And a whole generation know it mostly from this. Not a horrible song, but clearly, a song with too much plot for its own good.

Don Henley - The End Of The Innocence


Are there any songs more in-your-face boomer than the songs from 1989 Don Henley? Mixing the soothing Sting-like synths and combining divorce, first love and anti-establishment Reaganism, the vague story of "Daddy" winding through this overwritten monsterpiece is a love letter to, well, Don Henley's own genius. It certainly would have benefited from a little bit less of that "poor abandoned children" storyline, that's for sure. Fun fact: when he wrote this thing, Henley was roughly the same age as Eminem is now. Eminem recently wrote this NSFW track. Which do you think seems more self-centered? I gotta say, I think Ol' Don has my vote.

Barry Manillow - Copacabana


It's hard to completely hate on poor Barry, because he really did define a generation and time, and he really is a very talented composer. But when a song tries to be a Hollywood extravaganza, it at LEAST needs a satisfying ending. Where's Rico? Did Tony live or die? Lola clearly knows what happened, so who shot who, Barry? WHO SHOT WHO????

Grab your own personal over-plotted story-songs and throw 'em in the comments below. Plus, let us just remind you: some images come from the corresponding Wikipedia page and are here under fair use. See you next week.


quality posts: 8 Private Messages njack26

Cher-Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves


quality posts: 59 Private Messages jeffiekins

Billy Joel, the Eagles, Kansas, ELP, the Who, Elton John.

I can't even pick just one song from any of these.

Mind you, I like the songs, but that's mostly because I almost never pay much attention to the lyrics.

I'm supposed to buy something? But we're having so much fun with things as they are, I don't want to ruin it!
Purchases: 18 / 11 (nobody cares what, so I won't tell you);
Brownies of Cannabis: 1 / 12 (Thanks, Wootalyzer! -- would it help if I called them something else?).

Joe Weaks

quality posts: 0 Private Messages Joe Weaks

Hard to ignore
"Paradise by the Dashboard Lights" by Meatloaf (and several others of his)

And, Kenny Rogers didn't define the genre, it was Charlie Daniels and "The Devil Went Down to Georgia"


quality posts: 19 Private Messages hot72chev

Pretty much anything by Bruce Springsteen, but particularly this one, Thunder Road:

It seemed like a good idea at the time.


quality posts: 0 Private Messages majella77

Every Peter Gabriel-era Genesis song.
My personal favorite: "The Fountain Of Salmacis"


quality posts: 60 Private Messages strawhousepig

This is easy: NoMeansNo - The World Wasn't Built In A Day



quality posts: 13 Private Messages hefty244

TIL I love songs with too much plot. Seriously, I like all of the songs in the original post and most of the ones in the comments.


quality posts: 2 Private Messages deemery

What's the name of the song about the guy named Timothy, who the rest of the group ate?


quality posts: 26 Private Messages tjamil

American Pie by Don McLean, Fast Car by Tracy Chapman, The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald by Gordon Lightfoot


quality posts: 122 Private Messages miken927

Check and mate.

I Bet on Sky


quality posts: 19 Private Messages hot72chev

A little blast from the 70's -
Seasons in the Sun by Terry Jacks
Billy Don't be a Hero by Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods
Rocky (I've never been in love before) by Austin Roberts

It seemed like a good idea at the time.


quality posts: 0 Private Messages ChitownBlueDevil

"Sexual Healing" by Marvin Gaye and "Little Red Corvette" by "Prince"


quality posts: 0 Private Messages anesq
Joe Weaks wrote:
And, Kenny Rogers didn't define the genre

Sorry, but this is demonstrably incorrect. Consider the following:

  • The Gambler
  • Daytime Friends
  • Don't Fall in Love with a Dreamer
  • Reuben James
  • Scarlet Fever
  • Ruby Don't Take Your Love to Town
  • (You Picked a Fine Time to Leave Me) Lucille

Every.Single.One of those tracks could have been the lead to this post. One could put together a greatest hits album made entirely of Kenny Rogers songs with too much plot.


quality posts: 19 Private Messages Slydon


Joe Weaks wrote:And, Kenny Rogers didn't define the genre, it was Charlie Daniels and "The Devil Went Down to Georgia"


I would argue The Devil Went Down To Georgia had just enough plot!

Hi, I'm one of the writers. My powers are limited but I'll do what I can.


quality posts: 13 Private Messages hefty244

I would argue The Devil Went Down To Georgia had just enough plot!

While I agree that Kenny reigns supreme and that The Devil Went Down to Georgia is nearly perfect; Charlie Daniels had another plot song...Uneasy Rider.


quality posts: 1 Private Messages jhartman2

It's the best hockey song ever, but it has an awful lot of plot: "Hit Somebody" by Warren Zevon


quality posts: 78 Private Messages CatCK

Can't get a longer plot than this ...


quality posts: 34 Private Messages BelyndaG

Sorry I didn't see this topic sooner. I'm a sucker for songs with too much plot! This is the one that always made me crazy, but I couldn't stop listening to it. (Just listened again, twice!)

Richard Marx - Hazard



quality posts: 0 Private Messages xenon9

Here is another by Harry Chapin, Cats in the Cradle.


quality posts: 0 Private Messages gingerwasabi

My coworker and I were just talking about this concept yesterday. Cher Gypsies Tramps and Theieves came up and these 2 gems from my childhood:

Ode to Billie Joe - Bobbie Gentry
Harper Valley PTA - Jeannie C. Riley