Songs About Famous People

It is not at all surprising that there are so many songs about famous people. From the earliest days of civilization, people have looked for ways to pay tribute to people in their lives, particularly to those who are considered cultural heroes. Artists capture their images in paint or clay, and for musicians and song writers, the best possible way for them to show how deeply they care about the contributions that a person has made to the world, or even just to them personally, is to use the art form that they are most familiar with.

American Pie - Don McLean This song pays tribute to several well-respected rock and roll celebrities who were killed in a tragic airplane crash on February 3, 1959. Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper were all killed in the crash. Their deaths were considered such a loss to the music world that the date became known as "the day the music died".

Candle in the Wind - Elton John Candle in the Wind was a song that was originally written in tribute to Marilyn Monroe, the iconic American movie star. The song originally used the words, "Goodbye Norma Jean", which the singer later changed to "Goodbye England's Rose" in tribute to Princess Diana after her death in an automobile accident.

All Those Years Ago - George Harrison George Harrison was a member of the iconic rock and roll band The Beatles. Although the group had broken up several years earlier, when John Lennon was murdered in New York City he wrote this tribute song in remembrance of the joy of their friendship and their work together.

Abraham, Martin and John - Dion Rather than being written about a single person, this song was written in tribute to four giants of social justice and progress, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy, all of whom were killed by assassins.

Happy Birthday - Stevie Wonder Actually written as a protest song, Stevie Wonder penned the words to Happy Birthday as a reaction to the rejection by political leaders of a national holiday honoring the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the national civil rights leader.

King Tut - Steve Martin Certainly one of the most unusual songs written for a famous person, King Tut was a comedy song written and sung by the comedian Steve Martin. Though some of the song's lyrics are quite silly, the song was extremely popular and served to familiarize young people about some of the history of the ancient Egyptian ruler.

Biko - Peter Gabriel Steve Biko was an anti-apartheid activist in South Africa in the 1970s. He was arrested after having taken part in a variety of anti-apartheid activities, and after his arrest he was beaten severely and taken to prison, where he died. The song is a tribute to him, and was featured in the movie Cry Freedom, which was about the activist's death.