Places From Music That Are Real
This is a strange idea for a page I had the other day, how many places in eighties music are based on real places. Here are a few I could think of off the top of my head. If anyone has pictures or directions to these places, I'd love an email!
Allentown, Bethlehem
The town Allentown is the title of a song by Billy Joel. It also mentions the town Bethlehem. These are both steel mill towns in Pennsylvania.
Arlington House
"Arlington House, address no fixed abode..." One Better Day - Madness. Arlington House was a hostel for the homeless on Arlington Rd NW1 which runs parallel to the high street in Camden town, London
Balboa Island, CA
It's an island (a very small one, very close to shore) just off of Newport Beach, CA. Very spendy and trendy place to live, closely crammed with old/classic beach houses. Sparks mentioned it in 'I Wish I Looked A Little Better' "I went to Balboa Island and laid in the sand/I may be as ugly as sin, but at least now I'm tan"
One Night in Bankok - Murray Head - The song is mainly a pop song, though when released it could have been classified as dance music. The choruses (variations on the phrase "One night in Bangkok...") were sung by Swedish artist Anders Glenmark. The verses could be described as a spoken rap by Head, a sarcastic, tongue-in-cheek denunciation of the city's moral corruption and comparative glorification of the intellectual purity of chess: e.g., "the queens we use would not excite you." The song's lyrics contain a number of Bangkok-related references, among them the "muddy old river" (the Chao Phraya River), the "reclining Buddha" (the Wat Pho statue) and Yul Brynner (who played the King of Siam in The King and I). (quoted from Wikipedia)
In "You May Be Right," what Joel actually sings is "I wandered through Bedford-Stuy alone, even rode my motorcycle in the rain." (Not the lane)
Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, NY
"You May Be Right" Billy Joel sings "I was stranded in the combat zone, I walked through Bedford-Stuy alone, even rode my motorcycle in the lane..." Actually Chirs Rock grew up in that Brooklyn ghetto, and he makes fun of Billy Joel and that song.
Berlin (East and West)
Berlin is the biggest city in Germany and it's mentioned in the song City Of Night(Berlin)by Peter Schilling, who is German, but he is from Stuttgart, which is the 6th largest city in Germany.
Boylan Heights
'Boylan Heights' is the name of a Connells album. It is a neighborhood in Raleigh. I should take a picture of the sign sometime. The Connells lived in Raleigh.
Budapest is the capital of Hungary. Title of Thomas Dolby song 'Budapest by Blimp'.
Cadillac Ranch
"Cadillac Ranch" (Bruce Springsteen) is located on Route 66 near Amarillo, Texas. It is a line of ten Cadillacs buried nose-down in the dirt, ranging from 1949 to 1963 models. Here's the official website to check it out: (By the way, "Cadillac Ranch" and "Amarillo By Morning" are also the names of country-western songs released by Chris LeDoux, so how's THAT for tying songs and real places together?)
Caledonian Road
It is in North East London - and is in the wondrous soung of the same name by the Shop Assistants
"Holiday in Cambodia" by the Dead Kennedys. It's about how rich people in the US have no idea what poverty and hardship feels like. Cambodia is in southest Asia, between Thailand and Vietnam.
Cambodia (or Kampuchea) is a small country in south-east Asia, ruled in the second half of the 1970s by the notorious Khmer Rouge. It is the title of a Kim Wilde song from 1982.
Compton Ca
Straight Outta Compton by rap grou N.W.A. Hey it might be "the hood" but it's where they call home.
Copacobana, New York City
Barry Manilow sung about this nightclub-turned-discotheque-turned-nightclub-again. The song eventually became a Broadway musical with Manilow as Tony.
Coventry, England
The Specials' song "Ghost Town" refers to the dying economy in their home town of Coventry, England.
Detroit, MI
Rather a lack of accuracy, in the Journey song "Don't stop Believin'" there's the line "Just a city boy...Born and raised in South Detroit...He took the midnight train going anywhere..." There is no such thing as South Detroit. The area south of downtown is referred to locally as "Downriver", although that is the location of the former railroad station.
Dublin, Dundee, Humberside
Dublin, Ireland, Dundee, Scotland and Humberside, England, are all name-checked in "Hang the DJ" by the Smiths.
East California
In the song "Kids In America" by Kim Wilde she sings "New York to East California" as far as I know there is no such place as east California, it's either Northern California or Southern California. I guess that would be more of a place that sounds real but isn't.
Emmanuel College Toronto, Ontario
The Head Over Heels video was filmed at the library of Emmanuel College at the University of Toronto in the spring of 1985.
(This might possibly be from the late '70s) Tom Petty's song "American Girl" supposedly relates the story of a girl that killed herself by jumping from the roof of a sorority house. Tom Petty grew up in Gainesville, Florida (home to the University of Florida). A line in the song says "She could hear the traffic roll by out on 441". Highway 441 is called 13th Street in Gainesville, FL; and Panhellic Drive (where most of UF's sororities are situated) is indeed within easy earshot of 441.
Franklin River
The Frankin River is located in Tasmania, Australia. The song "Let The Franklin Flow" became a hit in 1983 for "Gordon Franklin and the Wilderness Ensemble", which was really Shane Howard (of Goanna) and a bunch of backing musos. The song was a protest regarding the (then) intended damming of the Franklin River.
This Scottish city is mentioned in the lyrics to ABBA's 1980 hit 'Super Trouper' - "I was sick and tired of everything, when I called you last night from Glasgow".
Harlem, NY
The northern tip of Manhattan. Heard in 'Angel Of Harlem' (U2).
Hazard is an "old Nebraska town" as referred to in the Richard Marx song, "Hazard". There is an Hazard, NE, but I don't know if there is a river there.
Isle of Wight
In Tears For Fears' video for Shout the entire outside scenes with Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith are shot on a beach on the Isle of Wight. The backdrop is absolutely gorgeous.
Isle of Wight
Of course, also mentioned in The Beatles' "When I'm 64."
The Isle of Wight
Someone told me that the outdoor part of Tears For Fears' video for Shout was filmed in the Isle of Wight.
Joshua Tree
Joshua Tree album by U2....Joshua Trees are a form of palm trees that grow in desert areas near Death Valley, Ca. and in other Desert areas.
Key Largo
The song is by Bertie Higgins. Key Largo is part of the Florida Keys, in south Florida, about 90 miles from Cuba.
Khe Sanh
From Bruce Springsteen's 'Born in the USA'."I had a brother at Khe Sanh..." Located in Vietnam. It is located in the northern Quang Tri Province near the border of Laos. It was the location of a pivotal battle in the Vietnam War, as American forces attempted to draw in the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army. The Americans hoped to destroy the NVA and Viet Cong using their superior air power and battle tactics. An estimated 200 Americans and 8000 Vietnamese died there.
Khe Sanh
Vietnam, referencing the participation in "the American War" by units of the Australian Army, the Australian rock anthem 'Khe Sanh' apeared on rock band Cold Chisel's "East" album, sung by Jimmy Barnes. The first line of the song has often been misheard but actually reads as follows: "I left my heart to the sappers round Khe Sanh; Sold my soul with my cigarettes to the black market man; I had the Vietnam cold turkey, from the ocean to the silver city, and it's only other vets could understand... Download it and be enthralled. Chisel's rock.
King's Cross Station in London
Waiting at the king's cross, good luck bad luck waiting in a line -King's Cross by the Pet Shop Boys 1988 from album Actually.
Knox College
R.E.M.'s "This is the End of The World as We Know it"... There is a line that goes "the other night I tripped at Knox" which is a reference to a show that they played there many years before. Appaently they had a little too much fun on campus that night.
Kosciusko is a song by Australian group, Midnight Oil, from their mid 80's album "Red Sails In The Sunset" The name originates from Mt Kosciusko, the highest mountain in the Australian Alps, loacted in New South Wales.
Lake Avenue
From "Rev on the Red Line" by Foreigner (Running all night on Lake Avenue, It's a piece of cake if you know what to do). From Lou Gramm's hometown of Rochester, NY. Lake Avenue is a long street that starts up by Charlotte Beach, and goes south into the city. It was and still is a notorious hangout for street drag racers.
Malta is an archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. Referred to in Kate Bush's "Night of The Swallow" (very rare as a single) as the wintering place for birds.
Manly Ferries are the ferries that take people from Sydney from Cirqual Quay to the Northern Beaches (Manly Wharf) - they've been running for years and well known in Sydney "As the Manly ferry cuts its way to Cirqular Quay" - Reckless, Australian Crawl
Medjugorje (pronounced meh-joo-gor-ee-ay) is a small mountain villiage in Bosnia where it is reported visions of the Virgin Mary have continually appeared since 1981. Featured on The Innocence Mission's song of the same name (from The Innocence Mission).
Miracle Mile
In Billy Joels song, 'It's Still Rock and Roll To Me', he sings;

"What's the matter with the car I'm driving, can't you tell that it's out of style? Should I buy a pair of white wall tires? Are you going to cruse the Miracle Mile?"

The Miracle Mile is a shopping center located in Manhasset, Long Island, NY, where I grew up.

The Pretenders song, "My City Was Gone" is about lead singer Chrissy Hynde's home state of Ohio. Towards the end of the song, she refers to Seneca and Cuyahoga Falls, both of which are located in northeastern Ohio.
Oyster Bay, Long Island, New York USA
Billy Joel's The Ballad of Billy the Kid. Oyster Bay is a town in Nassau County on Long Island, New York, where Billy Joel Grew up.
Paisley Park
The song Paisley Park by Prince on his 1985 album "Around The World in A Day". The place is in Minneapolis, Minnesota -where he is from and also named his recording studio that.
Panama is located at the top of South America, on a stretch of land called the Isthmus. It's also in a Van Halen song, "Panama".
In "Maniac" (from the Flashdance sdtk) the lyrics start: "Just a steel-town girl on a Saturday night..." The movie was set in Pittsburgh, which at one time had a huge steel industry.
Rockaway Beach
A correction to the post already made......Rockaway Beach isn't NEAR Queens, it's in Queens. If you ever look at a map of New York, it's the peninsula off the coast of Long Island, with Jamaica Bay separating it from Brooklyn adn Queens.
Goodnight Saigon, from the Billy Joel album "The Nylon Curtain", is located on the Saigon River in South Vietnam.
Salisbury, Wiltshire
Salisbury is an ancient town in southern England, featured in Kate Bush's "Sat In Your Lap": "...To Salibury/A monastery/The longest journey/Across the desert/Across the weather/Across the elements/Across The Water...
San Francisco, CA
"We Built This City" by Starship That radio annoucer goes "Looking over that Golden Gate Bridge on another gorgeous sunny Saturday,I've seen that bumper-to-bumper traffic...your favorite radio station in your favorite radio city, the City by the Bay, the city that rocks, the city that never sleeps!!!!"
Sayreville is the boyhood home of Jon Bon Jovi..If you listen to the end of "Raise Your Hands" on the Slippery When Wet LP...If you listen real careful at the end he pays homage to his hometown
Serengeti, Africa
".. blessed the rains in Africa.." and "..sure as Kilimanjaro rises above the Serengeti..", Toto's "Africa"
Seymour, Indiana
The town of John Mellencamp's birth, featured in his song, "Small Town"
Star Hotel
Star Hotel in Newcastle NSW Australia. The song is "Star Hotel". The song is about the closing down of the Star Hotel (pub) in Newcastle. The club has recently reopenned after aboout 20 years.
Te Awamutu
In the song Mean To Me, by Crowded House. Te Awamutu is a small town in New Zealand, where the Finn brothers (Crowded House and Split Enz) were born.
Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv is in Israel, and "Tel Aviv" is the title of an instrumental track from Duran Duran's 1981 debut.
Tijuana, Mexico
Tijuana,Mexico just across the border from San Diego California. Was mentioned in the song "Mexican Radio" by the band Wall of Voodoo.
In the song "Vienna Calling" by Falco, (from the album Falco 3), Vienna is the capital of Austria.
This was a wonderful punk clothing/etc. store mentioned in "Punk Rock Girl" by the Dead Milkmen. It was located on South Street in Philadelphia.
Zoo Station
It's mentioned in the song "Big In Japan" by Alphaville. "Shall I stay here at the zoo" Zoo Station is a train station in Berlin, Germany where many junkies go to buy drugs.

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