Songs are magical. Well, not literally, that would be awesome. For argument’s sake though, let’s just say they are. That makes this post the Hogwarts of the music world, the place where you can learn things by listening to, and if you really want to, learning songs.
These are my Top Five Educational Songs.
We’re going to start with a small disclaimer here. The quality of the education is not what this post is commenting on, but the quality of the song which, at some point in time, could have been used educationally. Now, some of these are out of date and so are redundant sources of information, but that doesn’t stop the songs being any good. Still with me? Good, then let’s begin.
5 – I Don’t Like Mondays – The Boomtown Rats
Okay, so this isn’t a particularly factual song, but it taught me a few details that got me some kudos back when I studied psychology in college and we talked about Brenda Spencer, the shooter that inspired this song. Plus, I have a soft-spot for Geldof since discovering The Great Song Of Indifference…
4 – Facts Of Life – Lazyboy
Lazyboy would have had another entry here if it wasn’t for the fact that I’m determined to have five completely different acts in this post. I’ve gone with Facts Of Life for this one. It seems the more sensible choice, and whilst I don’t know for sure that the facts are all facts – in fact, I know that at least one fact is in fact a fiction – I like hearing facts and being able to tell people that these facts I have learnt are facts.
3 – We Didn’t Start The Fire – Billy Joel
Okay, so I really liked this one. In fact, this is the first song I actively tried to learn the lyrics to. I failed, miserably, but I tried. We Didn’t Start The Fire tells of tonnes of famous events that took place between 1949 and 1989 and serves almost as a pop-culture history recap, all under the guise of pointing out that humanity is an innately flawed species with a tendency towards violence. I’ve embedded the official video below, but if you want to find out more about the actual people and events themselves, the Wikipedia page does a decent job of telling you about them.
2 – Nations Of The World – Animaniacs
Nations Of The World was first shown in 1993 and tells us the names of a majority of the countries within the world at the time. Sadly, it took merely four years for the song to be definitely inaccurate. Noted, that’s just because that’s how long the one definitely not accurate anymore thing happened – Zaire changing it’s name to The Democratic Republic Of Congo.
Still, it’s a great song, it gives people an insight into the placements of various modern day nations – a fairly sizeable number – and it’s actually relatively easy to sing along to.
1 – The Elements – Tom Lehrer
You’ll have heard this one. I know, without a doubt, that you’ll have heard it. Heck, you’re guaranteed to know some of the words, even if you’re not sure of their placement within the songs. It even managed to counter-act the fact that it would, one day, surely be incomplete, by pointing out that they’re the ones currently known (as at the time of original release).
I’m a big fan of chemical elements – if you’re in a pop-quiz situation where you just need to name them… like on beloved British TV show Pointless, I’m your man. Part of that knowledge is because of this song and my determination, years and years and years ago, to learn it. Thank you Tom Lehrer, for helping make me a nerd.
And that’s my Top Five Educational Songs. What songs did you enjoy listening to that you found educational in some way?