assertions in pop songs that were true at the point the song was written/recorded, but are no longer true

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e.g. "Reagan's president elect" from '(We Don't Need This) Fascist Groove Thang' by Heaven 17 - this was true from 4th of November 1980 until 20th of January 1981

Platinum Penguin Pavilion (soref), Saturday, 8 June 2024 21:22 (one month ago) link

I was thinking of "It's 1977" from 'Plastic Bag' by X-Ray Spex, but apparently that was recorded in 1978, maybe it was written in 1977? (anyway, true from 1st of January 1977 until 31st of December 1977)

Platinum Penguin Pavilion (soref), Saturday, 8 June 2024 21:25 (one month ago) link

“Nixon’s in a coma, and I hope it’s gonna last” / Luna, Rhythm King

epistantophus, Saturday, 8 June 2024 21:34 (one month ago) link

There are going to be lots of examples of singers stating the then-current year, e.g. Stooges "1969" (and arguably "1970") and a zillion rap songs

JRN, Saturday, 8 June 2024 22:29 (one month ago) link

Ozzy Osbourne- "Flying High Again"

Iacocca Cola (Neanderthal), Saturday, 8 June 2024 23:26 (one month ago) link

The Kinks, "Holloway Jail"

They could have taken Ray's baby "down Holloway Jail" anytime between 1852 and July 2016. Now she'd probably go to either HMP Downview or HMP Bronzefield.

Poets Win Prizes (Tom D.), Saturday, 8 June 2024 23:28 (one month ago) link

Clint Ballard Jr. wrote "I'm Alive" for The Hollies

This is Dance Anthems, have some respect (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Saturday, 8 June 2024 23:43 (one month ago) link

The Prima Donnas’ “Reagan’s Dead” proudly declares that it’s 1998 and that person is dead, which wasn’t true then or for several years after that, but is true now

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dpzb1S_nOvw

Theracane Gratifaction (bendy), Sunday, 9 June 2024 03:07 (one month ago) link

Carter power did go 'way, but Jerry never did become president

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dc3pvLPnWRU

Elvis Telecom, Sunday, 9 June 2024 05:24 (one month ago) link

"And I swear that I don't have a gun" - Kurt Cobain, 'Come As You Are'.

Wry & Slobby (Portsmouth Bubblejet), Sunday, 9 June 2024 05:46 (one month ago) link

"there's three of us, but we're not the Beatles"

bae (sic), Sunday, 9 June 2024 05:58 (one month ago) link

“Stand down Margaret, stand down” - English Beat

that's not my post, Sunday, 9 June 2024 06:23 (one month ago) link

"I was 21 years when I wrote this song, I'm 22 now but I won't be for long"

ledge, Sunday, 9 June 2024 06:27 (one month ago) link

Whitey's on the moon

ledge, Sunday, 9 June 2024 06:29 (one month ago) link

quite a long time since john lennon saw a film, oh boy

mookieproof, Sunday, 9 June 2024 06:50 (one month ago) link

xxp The Stooges have a few of these:
'1969' - "Well it's 1969 okay", "Now last year I was 21", "And now I'm gonna be 22"
'1970' - "Out of my mind on Saturday night. 1970 rollin' in sight." - bonus as I think it's been quite a long time since Iggy has been out of his mind on a Saturday night

you gotta roll with the pączki to get to what's real (snoball), Sunday, 9 June 2024 08:04 (one month ago) link

Thin Lizzy, "The Rocker"

"I love to rock and roll
I get my records at the ‘Rock On’ stall"

The Rock On record stall off the Portobello Road is now a health food shop selling overpriced rye bread and the like. Seems the record stall was actually run by their manager, so the song can be seen as an early example of stealth advertising.

https://www.britishrecordshoparchive.org/shops/rock-on/

prog's nearly man (Matt #2), Sunday, 9 June 2024 10:53 (one month ago) link

George Michael "I'm not planning on going solo"

Vinnie, Sunday, 9 June 2024 12:27 (one month ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3PuP6lgah_M

They say:
It's a cold world
A cold, cold world
It's a cold world
A cold, cold world

glumdalclitch, Sunday, 9 June 2024 13:18 (one month ago) link

"It's fun to stay at the YMCA" - Village People

Josefa, Sunday, 9 June 2024 13:25 (one month ago) link

More from the Kinks:

"My baby woke me up this mornin'
She said get down that labour exchange"

Labour Exchanges were renamed Job Centres in 1973.

Poets Win Prizes (Tom D.), Sunday, 9 June 2024 13:43 (one month ago) link

Or just
Another
Country
Another council tenancy

There are hardly any council tenancies in 2024

(ok but you get the point)

glumdalclitch, Sunday, 9 June 2024 13:51 (one month ago) link

"In Our Time" by Nancy Sinatra, written by Lee Hazlewood:

Girls were once suffragettes
Now they're out takin' bets
Smokin' filter cigarettes

The smoking rate among women 18-24 is down to around 5% today (US), far lower than its peak in the mid '60s when the song was recorded.

(Although tbf the song is called "In Our Time")
(Happy belated Birthday to Nancy Sinatra!)

Josefa, Sunday, 9 June 2024 14:04 (one month ago) link

More from the Kinks:

_"My baby woke me up this mornin'
She said get down that labour exchange"_

Labour Exchanges were renamed Job Centres in 1973.


This is good info, I was thinking “oh like the Job Centre in that Denim song”

brimstead, Sunday, 9 June 2024 14:09 (one month ago) link

“Cig Machine” by The Suburbs (1980)

I'm 22 now
And I got a nice cock

Half of that may still be true, I’d have no way of knowing.

Overly dramatic elevator music (Dan Peterson), Sunday, 9 June 2024 14:39 (one month ago) link

Lots of money references are long obsolete, e.g. "dollar nine, get a bottle of wine" (Gil Scott-Heron, "The Bottle")

henry s, Sunday, 9 June 2024 15:10 (one month ago) link

It winds from Chicago to LA
More than 2000 miles all the way

"(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66" written by Bobby Troup

Josefa, Sunday, 9 June 2024 15:23 (one month ago) link

has tectonic activity significantly increased that distance?

ledge, Sunday, 9 June 2024 16:53 (one month ago) link

I doubt that, it’s just that the highway doesn’t technically exist anymore and there’s nothing continuous of what’s left of it.

Josefa, Sunday, 9 June 2024 17:10 (one month ago) link

Could Jeff Tweedy really still get cigarettes AND Diet Coke for just $3.63 even in 2001?

PaulTMA, Sunday, 9 June 2024 17:53 (one month ago) link

"look, I'll call you in the morning or my service'll explain."

or is obsolescence another thing?

Deflatormouse, Sunday, 9 June 2024 17:55 (one month ago) link

the Holloway jail one is great

Deflatormouse, Sunday, 9 June 2024 17:56 (one month ago) link

Could Jeff Tweedy really still get cigarettes AND Diet Coke for just $3.63 even in 2001?

Possibly? If they were cheapie, no-name smokes and canned Cokes were still pretty cheap then (50¢ in vending machines/convenience stores, and even less at Walmart, who sold them in their machines as loss leaders at 35¢ and their store brand for only a quarter).

On the note of jails and etc, any songs which mention Borstal ("The Criminal Justice Act 1982 abolished the borstal system in the UK, replacing borstals with youth custody centre2 - wikipedia)

Borstal Breakout by Sham 69
Borstal Boys by The Faces

glumdalclitch, Sunday, 9 June 2024 18:27 (one month ago) link

Weird Al’s “I Lost on Jeopardy” refers to Art Fleming as the host

frogbs, Sunday, 9 June 2024 18:33 (one month ago) link

“Cig Machine” by The Suburbs (1980)

I'm 22 now
And I got a nice cock

Half of that may still be true, I’d have no way of knowing.


No cig machines anymore in the US either

Are you addicted to struggling with your horse? (Boring, Maryland), Sunday, 9 June 2024 19:02 (one month ago) link

Haha yes, the first line is “Standing by the cig machine
trying to pick up girls.” No more, dude.

Overly dramatic elevator music (Dan Peterson), Sunday, 9 June 2024 20:40 (one month ago) link

"They're bound to get you,
'Cos they got a curfew,
And you go to the Starkville City Jail,
And you go to the Starkville City Jail."

You would now go to the Oktibbeha County Jail, although strictly speaking that's what it was already called when Johnny Cash was arrested for picking flowers in May 1965.

Wry & Slobby (Portsmouth Bubblejet), Sunday, 9 June 2024 21:28 (one month ago) link

"Hey there, where you going with that UB40 in your hand?" ('Going Down to Liverpool' by Katrina and The Waves)

This would now be, "Hey there, where you going with that laptop, tablet, mobile phone - or other portable electronic device - with which you applied online for 'new style' Jobseeker's Allowance in your hand?"

By extension, the chorus "I'm going down to Liverpool to do nothing all the days of my life" would become "I'm going down to Liverpool for a Jobcentre Plus interview about actively seeking employment, which may involve a requirement to attend an interview about a Work Club or an Enterprise Club."

Wry & Slobby (Portsmouth Bubblejet), Monday, 10 June 2024 05:34 (one month ago) link

Haha yes, the first line is “Standing by the cig machine
trying to pick up girls.” No more, dude.


DLR's got his back against the record machine. No one sees what he means.

Elvis Telecom, Monday, 10 June 2024 05:51 (one month ago) link

Could Jeff Tweedy really still get cigarettes AND Diet Coke for just $3.63 even in 2001?

Is the song set in 2001?
Also the cigarettes were unlit - important for comparative purposes.

assert (matttkkkk), Monday, 10 June 2024 07:36 (one month ago) link

You mean untipped? I mean, maybe they used to sell lit cigarettes but I dunno...

Mark G, Monday, 10 June 2024 15:02 (one month ago) link

2001 average price per pack: $3.37

Kim Kimberly, Monday, 10 June 2024 15:21 (one month ago) link

^^So doable if he bought a 25¢ Sam's Choice Diet Cola from a vending machine instead of a Diet Coke.

"This is how we chill from '93 'til"

’93 ’Til Infinity began as ’91 ’Til Infinity, with a different beat. Was obsolete before it was even released!

theo, Monday, 10 June 2024 15:35 (one month ago) link

USA or Basic cigarettes cost between $1.50 and $2.25 back then, depending on where you were in the country.

peace, man, Monday, 10 June 2024 15:43 (one month ago) link

Colin Newman, "Lorries"

"Always descriptive, lorries green or blue
That come from from Italy or Czechoslovakia"

Czechoslovakia ceased to exist on 31st December, 1992.

Poets Win Prizes (Tom D.), Monday, 10 June 2024 15:48 (one month ago) link

i feel like this thread has real potential, but most everything posted is like "details that are now outdated" -- which is like most music with lyrics? factual assertions that are no longer true is a more interesting idea

budo jeru, Monday, 10 June 2024 16:24 (one month ago) link

although i do need to say that learning that people in england call jails "His Majesty's Prison" is sooo fucking funny

budo jeru, Monday, 10 June 2024 16:25 (one month ago) link

Any songs about Pluto being a planet?

A So-Called Pulitzer price winner (President Keyes), Monday, 10 June 2024 16:26 (one month ago) link

U2 - Miami:

Got the sun got the sand
Got the batteries... in the _handy cam_

...

No big deal we know the score
Just back from the _video store_


Bono’s worst lyrics, and I say this as a fan of the album otherwise.

Gigi Allen (Boring, Maryland), Friday, 14 June 2024 15:38 (four weeks ago) link

Paul McCartney can no longer go back to the USSR.

kornrulez6969, Friday, 14 June 2024 15:45 (four weeks ago) link

how do people feel about artists updating the lyrics of these songs to keep up with the times? e.g. there was a Rapino Brothers remix of Fascist Groove Thing in 1993 that changed the words to "Democrats are back in power/Across that great wide ocean/Bush has proved you can't elect/Fascist god in motion". I remember Damon Albarn started singing "Love in the 90s/WAS paranoid" when Blur played Girls & Boys post y2k, don't know if he still does that.

― Platinum Penguin Pavilion (soref), Friday, June 14, 2024 11:26 AM bookmarkflaglink

I did appreciate when Pearl Jam went on tour in 2000 and Vedder changed one lyric of "Do the Evolution" to "I'm George Bush and my son is an ass"

Iacocca Cola (Neanderthal), Friday, 14 June 2024 15:47 (four weeks ago) link

BTW "dated" lyrics like these are so endearing to me. I do kinda want a song to be stuck in the week and location it was written etc. etc.

― you can see me from westbury white horse, Friday, June 14, 2024 11:27 AM (twenty-two minutes ago) bookmarkflaglink

My favorite part of that Fred Armisen/Dave Grohl "old punks reunite at a wedding" SNL sketch is when Armisen says something like, "Take that, Alexander Haig," which I imagine was either consciously or unconsciously inspired by Dead Kennedys "We've Got a Bigger Problem Now"

The SoyBoy West Coast (Whiney G. Weingarten), Friday, 14 June 2024 15:55 (four weeks ago) link

that sketch was gold

Iacocca Cola (Neanderthal), Friday, 14 June 2024 15:55 (four weeks ago) link

the whole of Making Plans for Nigel. and not just because of British Steel - ignoring another unrelated company of that name now apparently - but just generally the idea that Nige's parents think that he'll be sorted for life if he's set up in the trade, no?

you can see me from westbury white horse, Friday, 14 June 2024 16:28 (four weeks ago) link

the toy dolls have that one song about 'when you're jimmy s*ville, everybody thinks you're brill'

you can see me from westbury white horse, Friday, 14 June 2024 16:52 (four weeks ago) link

Tupac "We ain't ready to have a black president"

A So-Called Pulitzer price winner (President Keyes), Friday, 14 June 2024 17:28 (four weeks ago) link

The Fall updated "US 80s-90s" when done live post-1989 to "US 90s 00000000s". I can't seem to find the version I'm thinking of, though.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Friday, 14 June 2024 18:14 (four weeks ago) link

I guess when they broke up, that was the day Chumbawamba got knocked down and they did not get up again.

Philip Nunez, Friday, 14 June 2024 19:29 (four weeks ago) link

Oh I have one: Sleeper "Best of luck Mr Gorski"

Which turned out to be an urban legend ie untrue.

Does that count?

Mark G, Friday, 14 June 2024 21:35 (four weeks ago) link

Toby Keith said in “American ride” that the plasma screen tvs were getting bigger but I don’t think that’s true anymore and I haven’t heard tv screens described as “plasma” for quite some time

brimstead, Friday, 14 June 2024 22:09 (four weeks ago) link

Frazier Chorus - Little Chef :((

you can see me from westbury white horse, Friday, 14 June 2024 22:53 (four weeks ago) link

Like the 'Wambas mentioned above, it was sad when Carter's Machine stopped

PaulTMA, Friday, 14 June 2024 23:01 (four weeks ago) link

"Take that, Alexander Haig,"

Jello did California Uber Alles with Dillinger Escape Plan last weekend at an LA punk festival, with "updated" lyrics about Governer Schwarzeneggar. might be time to update them again?

Colonel Poo, Friday, 14 June 2024 23:13 (four weeks ago) link

Yeah, that was from the 2nd Jello/Melvins album in 2005…

The SoyBoy West Coast (Whiney G. Weingarten), Saturday, 15 June 2024 04:46 (three weeks ago) link

wrong thread, innit

massaman gai (front tea for two), Saturday, 15 June 2024 05:16 (three weeks ago) link

Oh I have one: Sleeper "Best of luck Mr Gorski"

Which turned out to be an urban legend ie untrue.

Does that count?

― Mark G

god then we have to start talking about "jordan, minnesota"

i do _not_ want to talk about "jordan, minnesota"

Kate (rushomancy), Saturday, 15 June 2024 15:06 (three weeks ago) link

I have a kind of reverse one. Green On Red, Two Lovers: "ain't no hate in the world, ain't no hole in the sky" - they're denying reality on purpose (because the only thing that's real is two lovers waiting to die), but in about 50 years time the ozone hole will actually be gone, which will be quite confusing for anyone still listening to that song in 2075.

StanM, Sunday, 16 June 2024 17:08 (three weeks ago) link

California Uber Alles was mentioned above, but "now it is 1984" would be one that was not true at the point the song came out, then was true for a while, and then was not true again.

Platinum Penguin Pavilion (soref), Sunday, 16 June 2024 17:26 (three weeks ago) link

feel like there's a joke here about "Carter power will soon go away" and him surprising everyone by still being alive as of June 2024

Platinum Penguin Pavilion (soref), Sunday, 16 June 2024 17:31 (three weeks ago) link

“Johnny’s Gonna Die” by the Replacements was true at the time, but not anymore (because Johnny is dead.)

A So-Called Pulitzer price winner (President Keyes), Sunday, 16 June 2024 17:52 (three weeks ago) link

Sloan, 'Underwhelmed':
She was underwhelmed, if that's a word
I know it's not, 'cause I looked it up

Although the earliest usages of "underwhelmed" are attested to be between the '30s and '40s (and I cannot find the date of its addition to the major dictionaries), I strongly suspect that it was not an official entry in the dictionary in 1992, but rather was relegated to slangy use. However, it appears in every online dictionary I have checked. If Dude From Sloan were to look it up today, these lyrics would be false.

emil.y, Sunday, 16 June 2024 20:54 (three weeks ago) link

Not exactly a song comprised of "assertions", but a lot of people aged 64 in 2006 (even those who weren't Paul McCartney) were comporting themselves differently than those of that age in 1967.

Halfway there but for you, Monday, 17 June 2024 02:42 (three weeks ago) link

how do people feel about artists updating the lyrics of these songs to keep up with the times?

Steve Kilbey occasionally adjusts the "I paid eighty dollars for this wedding ring" line in "Hotel Womb" for inflation "I paid eight thousand dollars..." etc.

Elvis Telecom, Saturday, 22 June 2024 05:17 (two weeks ago) link

artists updating lyrics, that feels like a whole other thread premise though (Morrissey, Bigmouth Strikes Again: "her walkman/ipod started to melt", Neil Young, After The Goldrush: "look at mother nature on the run in the 1970s/1980s/20th century/21st century")

StanM, Saturday, 22 June 2024 06:39 (two weeks ago) link

stonking post emil.y, salute

Humanitarian Pause (Tracer Hand), Saturday, 22 June 2024 09:13 (two weeks ago) link

According to OED, earliest citation is 1956.

He wrote..commending the action of one of the giant corporations for a..price reduction at a time when prices were rising. I was underwhelmed, and investigated.
T. K. Quinn, Giant Corporations viii. 61

First added to OED in 1986.

Dan Worsley, Saturday, 22 June 2024 11:56 (two weeks ago) link

Overwhelmed goes back to the 14th century, so amazed it took 600 years for underwhelmed to appear.

Dan Worsley, Saturday, 22 June 2024 11:58 (two weeks ago) link

Still waiting on whelmed though.

Blood On Santa's Claw (Tom D.), Saturday, 22 June 2024 12:27 (two weeks ago) link

... to make a reappearance that is.

Blood On Santa's Claw (Tom D.), Saturday, 22 June 2024 12:28 (two weeks ago) link

goldilocks on yelp

mark s, Saturday, 22 June 2024 12:48 (two weeks ago) link

According to OED, earliest citation is 1956.

I can't find which dictionary I looked at that put it at the '30s/'40s, but Merriam Webster seems to have found a couple of written records of it from the 19th century!

First added to OED in 1986.

This is good intel - how did you find this out? I was getting pretty frustrated in my searches. There are some sites where you can search by year to find what was added into the dictionary then (so you can do social media posts about what was added in your birth year etc) but I couldn't find one that let you search by word.

Anyway, I'm going to say that 1986 is close enough to 1992 that he probably did look it up in a dictionary and not find it!

emil.y, Saturday, 22 June 2024 13:09 (two weeks ago) link

On their website https://www.oed.com/search/dictionary/?scope=Entries&q=underwhelm

I accessed the full entry through my library. If you’re a member of a library, university or other institution you may be able to get access.

Dan Worsley, Saturday, 22 June 2024 13:35 (two weeks ago) link

Oh yes, I can see it - thanks so much for that, it's very useful.

emil.y, Saturday, 22 June 2024 14:02 (two weeks ago) link

For about a decade, I've been accessing the OED with my library card. My library doesn't actually have a subscription, but I've discovered that my card number works if I select the Glasgow library system.

jaymc, Saturday, 22 June 2024 14:11 (two weeks ago) link

Keeping an eye on sites like these to test the veracity of "lemonade was a popular drink and it still is". It's still true currently, but how long will it last???

emil.y, Saturday, 22 June 2024 17:42 (two weeks ago) link

The assertion that I’m curious about is

“The sale of pills are at an all-time high (sic)” from the Temptations’ “Ball of Confusion”

I’m sure that was true in 1970, and it’s undoubtedly true today (thus not what the thread asks for). But has it been true every single year between 1970 and now? If so that’s a rare assertion that was supposed to apply to the moment but which is true in a self-perpetuating way.

Josefa, Saturday, 22 June 2024 20:47 (two weeks ago) link

lol i always thought that lyric said "sales appeals are at an all time high"

Kate (rushomancy), Saturday, 22 June 2024 21:07 (two weeks ago) link

I don't know whether Nick Lowe seriously good-faith believed that actress Marie Prevost (not "Provost") had been eaten upon by her dog, or whether or not any of those Kenneth Anger "Hollywood Babylon" assertions were taken seriously in the late 70s when he wrote the song; but of course they weren't true then nor now.

Incidentally, poor hapless Marie was a native of Sarnia, Ontario, just like the entire maternal side of my family.

(

Hongro Hongro Hippies (Myonga Vön Bontee), Saturday, 22 June 2024 21:22 (two weeks ago) link

Similarly, when Player 1 and Bloody Bonez made “Crime Rate Sky High” in 1994, that was true, but since then—-

A So-Called Pulitzer price winner (President Keyes), Saturday, 22 June 2024 21:58 (two weeks ago) link

"You can't catch me / 'Cause the rabbit done died"

The onward march of science has wiped the smirk from Steven Tyler's face. Wikipedia notes, "Modern pregnancy tests continue to operate on the basis of testing for the presence of the hormone hCG in the blood or urine, but no longer require the use of a live animal."

Vast Halo, Sunday, 23 June 2024 13:12 (two weeks ago) link

"But even the President of the United States
Sometimes must have to stand naked"

From It's Alright, Ma. Not even Dylan imagined a world where the prez is above the law. Shit

that's not my post, Tuesday, 2 July 2024 17:18 (one week ago) link

"But even the President of the United States
Sometimes must have to stand naked
So therefore flashing is an official act"

A So-Called Pulitzer price winner (President Keyes), Tuesday, 2 July 2024 17:26 (one week ago) link

Back in October 1983 the Union of the Snake was in theory still on the climb - the party almost had the second-highest tally of votes in that year's election. But they fragmented over the course of the subsequent parliament and entered a slow and inexorable decline. Meanwhile the Buffalo Gals went round the outside. And now that Starlink is a thing it's hard to image a satellite ever being lonely. So that's two strikes against Duran Duran.

On a more serious level I was going to mention "Magic Bus" by The Who. It talks about the bus fare being thruppence and sixpence for a trip of a mile circa 1965. But the Bank of England's inflation calculator suggests that 9p in pre-decimal money circa 1965 is roughly £1.60 in 2024, which isn't that far off the standard £1.75 London bus fare. In rural areas it's actually very low, which undermines the whole thrust of the song (that it would be cheaper to buy the bus than multiple tickets). I'd just like to thank the entire rest of the United Kingdom for generously agreeing to subsidise bus fares in London. Thank you.

Ashley Pomeroy, Tuesday, 2 July 2024 19:27 (one week ago) link

Except they're £2 round here.

Mark G, Wednesday, 3 July 2024 08:37 (one week ago) link

Also TfL is pretty much entirely funded through the fare box and is not in receipt of a central government subsidy. Arguably “London” makes a net contribution to the UK economy (and as such funds Mark’s £2 bus around Berkshire) but that is a vexed question without a definitive answer.

TBF none of this is covered in The Who’s Magic Bus either, they should have seen this all coming.

Tim, Wednesday, 3 July 2024 14:00 (one week ago) link

also pre-decimal money wd have been 9d not 9p

mark s, Wednesday, 3 July 2024 14:25 (one week ago) link

Right here, right now

There is no other place I want to be

Watching the world wake up from history

Millennium Falco (Ye Mad Puffin), Wednesday, 3 July 2024 14:30 (one week ago) link


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