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Top 20 Songs written About Rock Stars

Sometimes rock stars write songs about other rockers, either alive or dead (usually deceased). They sing an ode to a past inspiration or an old friend. Tune written “about” musicians, rock stars that made an influence on other musicians. These are the top 20 songs written about dead rock stars (with 1 still living):

1 – American Pie by Don McClean, written about the death of the 3 popular musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J. P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson, who were killed in a plane crash. As the lyrics go: The day the music died...

2 – Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black) by Neil Young, about Elvis Presley and Johnny Rotten (The Clash)


3 - All the Girls Love Alice by Elton John,who was a friend to Alice Cooper and a fan of Alice's showmanship and stage persona.

4 – Life is Real (Song for Lennon) by Queen, for the ex-Beatles member John Lennon

5 - Shooting Star by Bad Company, a song about Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin

6 – Song for Bob Dylan, sung by David Bowie. The title says it all, from the 1971 Hunky Dory album.

7 – Pearl by the Mamas & the Papas, written about Janis Joplin

8 – Wish You Were Here - Pink Floyd for their former band mate: Syd Barrett. “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” was also written about Syd.

9 – Empty Garden by Elton John written about John Lennon

10 – A Rock-n-Roll Fantasy by the Kinks, written after the death of Elvis

11 – Landslide by Fleetwood Mac, written by Stevie Nicks for Lindsay Buckingham. It also deals with the failure of their first duet album.

12 – Go Your Own Way by Fleetwood Mac, written by Lindsay Buckingham for Stevie Nicks. He also wrote “Second Hand News” just after the break-up.

13 – The Show Must Go On, performed by Queen, but written by guitarist Brian May for Freddie Mercury and his will to continue performing despite his illness.

14 – The Return of Jimi Hendrix by the Waterboys

15 – How You Gonna See me Now by Alice Cooper, written about himself, after his brief term in an insane asylum.

16 – The Rose by Bette Midler for Janis Joplin

17 – Elvis in Vegas by Meat Loaf

18 – All Those Years Ago by George Harrison

19 – Rockaria by ELO, Electric Light Orchestra

20 – Let Me In by R.E.M was sung about the disturbed Kurt Cobain, lamenting his lack of talent.

Bonus Track: John & Elvis Are Dead – by George Michael

Extra Bonus track:  Calling Elvis by Dire Straits

It was suspected that “Waiting for Darkness” by Ozzie Osbourne, was written about Randy Rhoades, former guitarist for Ozzie and Quiet Riot. No confirmation though.

Who gets the most songs written about him? Elvis first, and then John Lennon. Janis Joplin gets the most songs of all women rockers, in our list of songs written about other rock stars.


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