You know how people love to sing along to their favourite songs, but don’t always know the lyrics? Well, most artists are aware of that, and really like to take advantage of the fact. By slyly inserting a completely different message to the feel and tone of their songs, some of the most famous songs in the world have flown under the radar, despite the dark and depressing undertones their lyrics possess. From being played at weddings to parties, there are songs out there you’ll never guess the actual meanings to.

Here are some of the most misunderstood English songs ever!

1. Every Breath You Take by Sting is about his divorce

While the lyrics sound like they’re about someone who can’t get his mind off his lover, albeit in a slightly creepy way, the actual meaning of the song is very different. It pertains to Sting’s divorce, and how the entire episode made his controlling and obsessive.

2. Pumped Up Kicks by Foster The People is about a school shooting

In stark contrast to the jive inducing happy go lucky pop feel of this hit song (with a pretty sweet bassline), Forster The People went totally dark with this song. It’s about a slightly askew teen day-dreaming about carrying out a mass school shooting, something that has been increasingly common in the USA.

3. Imagine by John Lennon is highly inspired by Communism

One of the most overplayed songs in the history of time, ‘Imagine’ really gets the blood of most conservatives pumping with national pride and faux-camaraderie. The song is actually highly influenced by Communism, and John himself said that you can sing pretty much anything if you just sugarcoat it a little.

4. Like A Virgin by Madonna is about starting a new relationship

Billy Steinberg, who originally wrote the lyrics for the song, has gone on record saying that the lyrics have very few sexual connotations. It is, plain and simple, a song about the dawn of a new relationship and how it feels so fresh and new.

5. American Woman by The Guess Who is an anti-America song

This rock n roll tune has been a crowd as well as personal favourite for a while, and there’s pictures of numerous people in American flag shirts jamming out to it. Well The Guess Who is actually Canadian, and the song is about how they despise the ‘war machines’ of the ‘American woman’.

6. Mr. Tambourine Man by Bob Dylan was not about drugs

Most people in the 60s thought the seminal track was about as psychedelic as you could get, thanks to the strange lyrics. The song is actually about a person named Bruce Langhorne, who greatly inspired Dylan. It’s weird people even thought it was about drugs, because literally all of Dylan’s lyrics are kind of whack, no offense.

7. Born In The USA by Bruce Springsteen was a song against the Vietnam War

I’ll admit, even I thought this song was American Propaganda supreme. Turns out, Bruce didn’t write this song as a feel-good ditty about the joys of the Western world, but to criticise America’s treatment of it’s citizens during the Vietnam War.

8. Hotel California by The Eagles is about American excesses

Contrary to the belief that the song is about worshipping Satan and praying to the devil, the band members have explained the actual story. The song talks about the excesses of Los Angeles, living a life of wealth and power.

9. Harder To Breathe by Maroon 5 is a song against record label pressure

Adam Levine has admitted that, even though the song is on the album ‘Songs About Jane’, which is presumably obviously about a girl called Jane, this song is about something completely different. Their record label at the time was putting a lot of pressure on them to take the album out, and Adam, feeling suffocated,wrote this hit track.

10. Blackbird by The Beatles was about the Black Rights Movement

Paul Mcartney, who performed this song that remains a favourite of acoustic guitarists everywhere, cleared the air by admitting it was not about a flightless bird. Paul was highly inspired by the Civil Rights movement, especially against racial segregation, and wrote the song as a metaphor of the discrimination against black people.