The people who falsely claimed the copyright to “Happy Birthday to You” made $2M a year for decades until the song was ruled public domain.
The original lyrics in Little Richard’s song “Tutti Frutti” were changed from “Tutti Frutti, Loose Booty” to “Tutti Frutti, aw rooty” because the term “Loose booty” was considered too scandalous.
“Ring Of Fire” popularized by Johnny Cash was actually written by June Carter about her falling in love with Johnny Cash while he was still married to his first wife.
A Norwegian comedian wanted to prove that songs could become club hits without making any sense, so he collected randoms words and names in Spanish (a language he did not speak) as lyrics and added cliché saxophones and accordion mixes. The song charted across Europe, reaching #1 in some places.
“Hit Me Baby (One More Time)” is mistranslated. The Swedish writer for the Britney Spears song thought that “hit me” was American slang for “call me”.
George Harrison decided to write a song based on the first words he read upon opening a book. He then wrote “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” after seeing the words “gently weeps” in a random book pulled from a shelf at his parent’s house.
The director of M.A.S.H. had his 14-year-old son write a song for a scene because it needed to be “the stupidest song ever written.” His son wrote it in 5 minutes. It became the theme. The director earned $70,000 for directing the movie; by 1980 his son had earned over $1 million from the song.
After making an emergency landing in China in 2001, the crew of a US Spy Plane were asked by their Chinese captors to recite the lyrics to “Hotel California” to prove their nationality.
The lyrics of Bob Marley’s “No Woman, No Cry” are officially credited to his childhood friend Vincent “Tata” Ford, who ran a soup kitchen in the Jamaican ghetto where Marley grew up. Marley gave Ford credit for writing the song so that the royalty payments could keep the soup kitchen open.
When Queen wanted to release “Bohemian Rhapsody”, various executives told them that a song with a length of 5 minutes and 55 seconds was too long and would never be a hit. They even played it to other musicians who claimed that the song had “no hope” of being played on the radio.