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Songs that tell a story


Songs that tell a story

Do you enjoy listening to any songs where the lyrics tell a story throughout the course of the song? Feel free to share! You can also feel free to summarize the story if you like.


One example that comes to mind is a song by Phish called “Colonel Forbin’s Ascent”:


This is the sixth song in the Gamehendge cycle (a series of songs from the musical saga, The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday, written and recorded by Trey Anastasio for his Senior Study at Goddard College). In the story, a man named Colonel Forbin one day finds a door to another land while walking his dog, McGrupp. Stepping through this door, he finds himself in Gamehendge, a land with a giant mountain, which is inhabited by the Lizards.


The Lizards lived in harmony with nature and each other, as is taught by the Helping Friendly Book (written by the great and knowledgeable Icculus); however, earlier in the story, a man named Wilson arrived in Gamehendge and stole the Helping Friendly Book, using it to enslave the Lizards. At the time that Colonel Forbin enters Gamehendge, the lizards are plotting a revolution.


Colonel Forbin realizes that the only hope for revolution may be climbing up the mountain in Gamehendge and asking Icculus to send the Fly Famous Mockingbird to Wilson’s castle and rescue the book. So, this song is about Colonel Forbin’s ascent up the mountain and his meeting with Icculus, which bridges nicely into the next song, “Fly Famous Mockingbird" during Phish's live performances.


There are other Phish songs that are part of The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday as well, including:


  • The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday
  • The Lizards
  • Tela
  • Wilson
  • AC/DC Bag
  • Fly Famous Mockingbird
  • The Sloth
  • Possum


AdamDamSpotify Star
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Here's a song from a supergroup of Willie, Waylon, and the boys (Kris Kristofferson and Johnny Cash). You told me that you listened to a little bit of Waylon Jennings, the other day.

This song is about a man that has lived different lives, through reincarnation.  The Highwaymen covered it, but they made it theirs. It wasn't until in recent years that I found out that it's originally by someone else. Here's both versions.


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Hi y'all guys, first of all, I want to congratulate @AdamDam for his constant effort to make this Music Chat a better place to talk about all these different topics that you bring here. And encourage others to do the same or to at least participate actively in these threads. 


My pick for this thread is one of my very favorite tracks ever... a monster track that needed over 15 minutes to talk about the sad history behind it. 




Pain Of Salvation the final track of the album In The Passing Light of Day from 2017. The track is about a couple and their lifetime together, honest it's easy to be related to if you have been in love or in a relationship for a long time.  I hope you enjoy it. 

JpgchiefRock Star 14
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Hey everyone, 


Thanks @AdamDam for the cool topic. 


Decided to join with two tracks I love and find very powerful. They've been favorites of mine for long years now and I play them from time to time. 




Excellent example of an autobiographical track. Born and raised in a religious and disciplinarian family, Grace Jones decided to take the road of becoming a public persona and music celebrity. The track includes an Amazing Grace adaptation, underlining the strong contrast between different techniques used in the song. 




The next track is a gem I found in my teenage years. This song definitely tells a story, but... I'm not sure if I get the plot 🤣 Everything looks and sounds like a surreal poem, so I'd love it if you give a try and let me know what you think the meaning would be. 





The Hurricane


This song is particularly interesting having been based on true events with even a 1999 movie release also called, The Hurricane.  Written in 1976 by Bob Dylan, the song tells the story of Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, a boxing legend whose hopes of winning the middleweight title were tragically ruined by the racial prejudice of law enforcement when he was wrongfully committed of 3 murderers that happened in a bar in New Jersey.  Bob Dylan's lyrical genius shines brighter than ever in this song as he describes the narrative of the unjust events that depict the tragedy of Rubin Carter.

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There is a Robbie Williams track I've known for ages, that's telling a story in a particularly captivating way.

I used to not like this track, but for now I consider it one of his best:



The lyrics are a story of Robbie's cocaine addiction. The monkey is him on drugs, the me-character is him sober.

"Lace my palm with silver and they'll rock your world"


MGMT's 4th Dimensional Transition, for me, is a story of a short-lived love affair.
I am permanently certain it could mean something else for other listeners because the lyrics are so poetic I might not be on that level of understanding. : )



Can't remember more right now, mostly because lyrics are kind of.. not really a thing in most of my favourite music 😅


Talking about instrumental music.. well, this:


No description needed.

Quite a few earlier Amon Tobin tracks make me vividly feel like walking around in the streets of LA, illuminated by streetlights and fluorescent signs and being up to no good. This is one of these tracks.
Sordid and living the life:


dont know if this is exactly what you mean... but the song "how could you leave us" by NF


this song is about his mom overdosing... and it's sad enough... but when recording the outro... he actually had to ask everyone to leave the room... and then he just spoke into the mic... no script... one take... that's him crying in the moment... and it really makes you feel his pain

Travelling Alone is the fifth song on Passenger's acoustic album Whispers II. The album was not a major release, but rather a low-key follow-up to its predecessor, Whispers. It centers on simple storytelling in the tradition of folk music.


The song tells two separate stories of a man and a woman who have both loved and then suddenly lost someone. Although the circumstances are different, they are both left heartbroken and alone in the end.


Mike Rosenberg (Passenger frontman) revived the song when touring for his album Young as the Morning, Old as the Sea in 2016/17, playing it during the solo acoustic portion halfway through his set. I was lucky enough to see this performed live at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast, Northern Ireland. It was a strong and poignant counterpunch to the very upbeat and wanderlusty vibe of the rest of the show.


I did quite a detailed break-down of the song and its lyrics over on Genius - feel free to take a look if you're interested in how it was written and what Mike has to say about it.

this one here tell a story without words 😮

Are the Spotify lyrics intentionally inaccurate?  The lyric is "fly away the ring", is not as posted, as something about rain.  Also, NOT "I want to make love to you" but quite the opposite, "I wanna make love to two"!   Check with Mick

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