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When numbers sing it all!

Ever heard a song titled with a number and then thought to yourself- why this number? What is the story behind this number? Here is answering all your questions about songs that sing about numbers!

music Updated: Jun 21, 2012 12:01 IST
Divya Arya
Divya Arya

Coldplay frontman Chris Martin once said, 'I don't think you can try to be the best band in the world without having a song that's a number.' Here is a list of some of the most loved songs the music world has seen that are titles with numbers. What is the story behind the number? Why did the singer choose this number? On the eve of World Music Day, presenting to you some answers:

1- Metallica

Arguably world’s most famous heavy metal band Metallica debuted on the Billboard Hit 100 with their song One reaching the thirty fifth place. Written by James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich, the song featured in their album …And Justice For All. The song gets its words from Dalton Trumbo’s novel, Johny Got His Gun where a soldier, hit by an artillery shell, loses his limbs, eyes, ears and mouth even though his mind is perfectly functional. He is trapped inside his own body, wishing for death and freedom from his own burden. In the song, the lines sing, Now the world is gone, I’m just one, wherein the soldier feels lonely and isolated. The song is a crowd favourite and is the most played song of the album. The song featured bits from the 1973 movie Johny Got His Gun.

Enrique's 7 Album Art

7- Enriques Iglesias' album
The seventh album release of the Spanish heartthrob Enrique Iglesias was his third release in English with special importance given to songwriting and reached number 31 on the Billboard 200. 7 contains mega-singles like Addicted and Not In Love and was co-written by Iglesias as well.

16- Greenday

The song 16 by one of the world’s most successful punk band Greenday talks about the nostalgia of adolescence and youth, with a desire to go back to those simpler, carefree days. The chorus sings, every time I look in my past, I always wish I was there, I wish my youth would forever last, why are these times so unfair?

17- Kings of Leon
Rock Band Kings of Leon's 17 sings about falling in love with a 17 year old Spanish girl.

21- Adele's album
Named after Adele’s age during the making of the album, 21 is the British sensation’s second album which went on to become a record-breaking album. The album topped the charts in more than 30 countries and appeared in the 2012 edition of the Guinness World Records.

Adele's 21 Album Art

36- System Of A Down

In System Of A Down’s song 36, the alternative metal band straightforwardly sings about a mid life crisis. There is disillusionment from television and the realization that life is a race and it is hard to withdraw once you are a part of it. The song, featured in the band’s 2002 album Steal This Album made way to their fans heart with its universal and empathic appeal.

39- Queen

This cult classic is by the band Queen, one of the most loved and most successful rock bands of our times. This song is lyrically interesting as it conveys feeling about space travel. The singer-composer of the song Brian May, who had majored in astrophysics, wrote this song because of his fascination with the outer space. In the song, he sings about going away in space in the year 1939 and the love then lost because of the insurmountable distance. He is talking about the time travel as when he returns to earth, he has aged only one year whereas now his grandchildren are in front of him. The song uses astrophysical concepts in the most beautiful manner!

40- U2
The fan- favourite song 40 by the rock band U2 borrows lyrics from the Bible’s 40th Psalm. The song is the tenth and the final track of U2’s 1983 album War and was only promotionally released in Germany. Though not released commercially, the song has been a staple of the band’s overflowing live performances with having been played over 400 times. The song is generally performed last in live gigs and is said to be sung by the crowd for a while after the band leaves the stage.

42- Coldplay

The hit number by the adored alternative rock band Coldplay is a little cryptic, if we were to sit down and decipher its meaning. This track number 4 from the album Viva La Vida or Death And All Its Friends has been interpreted differently. Some say it is titled after the approximate 42 minute length of the album, some say it is named after the 42 songs that were trashed during the band’s earlier album X&Y sessions. There is also a theory that the song is based on Douglas Adam's HItchhiker's Guide to Galaxy where 42 is the answer to life, universe and everything that happens in the sci-fi comedy. The song has a deep, underlying meaning with lyrics like, those who are dead are not dead, they’re just living in my head- which inspired one to reflect on their philosophies and ways of being.

83- John Mayer

The talented John Mayer’s 83 is a song about what all of us wish for. It is about going back to the fuzzy comforts of our childhood, never having to return back. Mayer, born in 1977, was six years old in 1983 and wants to go back to that age of naivety. Like he sings, well these days, I wish I was 6 again, oh make me a red cape, I wanna be superman. The song boasts of perfectly rhymed lyrics with a simplicity that is heart-warming.

First Published: Jun 20, 2012 16:15 IST