Back in the day, it was common for a muse to be the source of inspiration for a song. A lot of those songs ended up being some classic top 10 hits that will be remembered for years to come. Many of these muses range from Princess Diana, to Courtney Love, to Carole King, otherwise known as some iconic women that have either passed on or have gone onto huge commercial success.
These songs have some pretty awesome backstories behind them that are completely true. There are even some additional updates based on the muses and the people who wrote the song about them! Here are 15 muses who inspired some of your favorite top 10 hits.
1. Carole King
Neil Sedaka apparently dated Carole King (back when she was still Carol Klein) in high school. “Oh! Carol” became a top 10 hit and, afterward, Carole’s husband Gerry Goffin wrote a song called “Oh! Neil” in response. Sedaka recently noted that he has written four or five songs about his current wife, Leba, and they have been married since 1962. Guess he’s just one of those musicians!
2. Linda McCartney
Paul McCartney wrote the song “My Love” in light of his wife, Linda McCartney. It was the first of his post-Beatles hits to top the charts. Apparently, she inspired tons of love songs for Paul up until her unfortunate death from cancer in 1998.
3. Diane Davison
“The Lady In Red” rose to No. 3 in the US and it was inspired by Chris de Burgh’s memory of seeing his wife for the first time. Chris and Diane have been married since 1977. Aww!
4. Marsha Hunt
Marsha Hunt was allegedly having an affair with Mick Jagger when he was in the midst of co-writing the song “Brown Sugar” for the Stones in 1971. By this time, Hunt had given birth to Jagger’s first child, Karis. Hunt and Jagger have parted ways since, but Jagger still keeps in touch with Karis. He has attended Karis’s college graduation, wedding, and was there for the birth of her child (his grandchild) in 2004.
5. Billie Jean King
Elton John had apparently asked lyricist Bernie Taupin to write a song with the title “Philadelphia Freedom” in King’s honor. Elton John was close to Billie Jean King when John was still ‘in the closet’.
6. Erin Everly
Erin Everly, daughter of Don Everly, inspired Guns n Roses’ first and only No. 1 hit called “Sweet Child o’ Mine” in 1988. She ended up marrying Axl Rose, but the marriage only lasted a few months due to physical and emotional abuse. His letters and their marriage license was put up for auction in 2013. Ouch!
7. Chrissie Shrimpton
This story contains Mick Jagger, again. He was dating Chrissie Shrimpton when they were teenagers and she ended up inspiring “19th Century Breakdown”, a Rolling Stones hit in 1966. The song apparently isn’t entirely about her, but she definitely inspired some of the lyrics. And if you know these lyrics, it’s no wonder as to why Shrimpton apparently attempted suicide over Jagger but “doesn’t hold a grudge”. Yikes.
Read up on more muses who inspired your favorite hits on the NEXT page…