20 songs that were inspired by famous people

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REM – “Man on the Moon”

In 2017, REM opened up about “Man on the Moon” in an interview with NME. At the time, the song was celebrating its 25th anniversary, and the group had no problem discussing what inspired them when it came time to work on their album Automatic For The People, and of course the song “Man on the Moon.”

The song was originally going to be an instrumental piece, then things conspired and lyrics began to flow. Though it seems as if many of the words came before the actual inspiration, the group explained that Andy Kaufman inspired them because of his surrealist comedy.

They told the outlet that, “Andy Kaufman was a performance artist.” He was the kind of person who was many things, including provocative. And for them, “He’s the perfect ghost to lead you through this tour of questioning things.”

Sometimes musicians don’t reveal their inspiration. Even if they choose to give us clues or hints as to what inspired their lyrics or even the tone of a song, there are plenty of times when it is up to the listener to figure out who could be inspiring an artist.

However, in the case of “Man on the Moon,” REM made it clear that Kaufman was one of their inspirations, although he was not alone in inspiring the song. Other people associated with the classic hit include Mott the Hoople and Charles Darwin. All in all, the inspiration for the song is impressive even if it was only one of these people, but to have all three inspire a single song makes the piece that much more fascinating.