The Surprising Stories Behind 12 Classic Pop Songs

Just another manic Monday for Prince.
Just another manic Monday for Prince. / Nicolas Genin, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

When you’re belting out Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart” in your far-from-soundproof shower, you might not realize that you’re technically singing about a couple of lovestruck vampires. Yes, the hit 1983 power ballad was originally written for a Nosferatu-inspired Broadway musical that never saw the light of day.

In this episode of The List Show, Mental Floss editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy is sharing the whole story behind that classic ’80s tune, and exploring the origins of other pop songs that have soundtracked our daily lives for decades. You’ll hear about the translation error that accidentally gave Britney Spears’s “... Baby One More Time” some dark undertones, and you’ll learn how Bruce Springsteen came up with “brimstone baritone anti-cyclone rolling stone” and the rest of the tongue twisters in “Blinded by the Light." You’ll even find out which legendary rocker actually wrote the Bangles’s “Manic Monday” (OK, the image above is a huge hint).

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