“We’ve Only Just Begun” was the beginning of The Carpenters, but it didn’t start out as romantic as it ended up. It started out as…a bank commercial. Yes, really. Songwriter Paul Williams made a tune for a bank that would play during an advertisement, and brother-sister-act Richard and Karen Carpenter liked the tune so much they asked Williams to modify and expand it so they could turn it into a hit.
It worked, and it reached number two on the charts. It was their second hit, and it was also the song that launched Williams’s career.
“Thank U, Next” by Ariana Grande
Despite being super young, Ariana Grande has still racked up an impressive number of famous relationships. This song of liberation and empowerment mentions them all by name, giving each of them – Big Sean, Mac Miller, Ricky Alvarez, and Pete Davidson – their time to “shine.”
However, this song isn't exactly a tear-down tune. Grande wants her fans to have grace in their relationships, deal with their romantic pasts, and look ahead to the next relationship they might have like it's their first.
“Turnin' Me On” by Blake Shelton
One of the most famous and popular country musicians ever, Blake Shelton could probably have a bunch of songs on this list. One huge hit is the tune “Turnin' Me On,” which was inspired by his then-girlfriend, none other than singer Gwen Stefani. Eventually, they married, and it's pretty clear that this song was all about her – even though Shelton doesn't mention Stefani by name.
However, he does do something that might as well be the same thing. He name-drops the cosmetics company she has a deal with in the line “She's Revlon red in the blackest night.”
“Maniac” by Michael Sembello
Despite this being the only song Michael Sembello is known for, it was a huge song for him – mostly thanks to the movie “Flashdance.” It was the number-one film of 1983, and Sembello's song was added to the cultural consciousness forever. The song actually came from the 1980 slasher film of the same name, and the original lyrics reflected that fact a lot better.
Phil Ramone, the producer for “Flashdance,” heard the song and loved the tune but needed some graphic lyrics changed first. It became a song about a girl who is a maniac while dancing.
“A Boy Named Sue” by Johnny Cash
You'd think that with a title like that, there's no way this isn't based on a real person, right? Well, yes, but it's not the way you'd think. First off, Cash wasn't even the songwriter; he just popularized the tune. The true writer was none other than author Shel Silverstein.
Did Shel know the eponymous Sue? No, but he was friends with Jean Shepherd, the narrator and humorous mind behind the famous movie “A Christmas Story,” which is based on his real life. Jean endured endless teasing as a child for his girly name, though nothing like the song happened.