This list of songs is inspired by lists published by radio station KEXP-FM from Seattle in 2010, as well as the latest poll taken in 2021 by Rolling Stone Magazine. For the most part I will faithfully countdown from their lists, starting at Song #500 and going until I reach Song #1. When you see the song title listed as something like: Song #XXX (KEXP)….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. Song XXX (RS) means the song is coming from the Rolling Stone list. If I post the song title as being: Song #xxx (KTOM), it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In any case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, just so everyone is aware, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Here is the story behind today’s song. Enjoy.
KTOM: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.
Song #345: All These Things That I’ve Done by The Killers.
I will start by thanking my friend John Barr for, not only suggesting that I write about this song but for pointing me in the direction of the cool back story that is associated with “All These Things That I’ve Done” by The Killers. Thanks, John!
I have featured The Killers before when we took a look at one of their other hits, “Mr. Brightsides” a while back. *(You can read that post here). The Killers are an American band out of Las Vegas. They released one super big album called Hot Fuss in 2004. From that album came a whole host of terrific songs such as “Mr. Brightsides”, “Smile Like You Mean It”, “Somebody Told Me”, “Andy, You’re a Star” and “All These Things That I’ve Done”. Like most of their songs, “All These Things I’ve Done” is a crowd-pleasing favourite and is often used to close their shows. But what many people don’t know is that this song is based upon a real person who, as it turns out, is doing something noteworthy with his life. Here is the story of “All These Things I’ve Done” by The Killers.
Before The Killers became famous, the band consisted of a bunch of guys who were all struggling to make ends meet. All of the band members had second jobs that put food on their tables and a roof over their heads. Lead singer Brandon Flowers’ day job was at a local casino. The story is that the band had recorded some demo tracks and were shopping them around to various companies. They allowed them to cross paths with a record executive named Matt Pinfield. The meeting was cordial but, in the end, Matt was unsuccessful in signing the band. That didn’t stop him from asking if one of the guys could give him a lift back to his hotel. Flowers offered Pinfield a drive. That drive lead to a meal and a few drinks. In the course of their time alone, Pinfield told Flowers about an organization he volunteered with that helped mentor music-oriented US soldiers who were suffering from PTSD from being on duty in the Gulf War. Flowers was so moved by the stories Pinfield told him about returning US soldiers and the power of music therapy that, immediately after they went their separate ways, Flowers took pen to paper and wrote the rough lyrics to what was to become “All These Things That I’ve Done”. The two have become fast friends ever since, with Pinfield subsequently titling his biography as “All These Things I Have Done: My Insane, Improbable Rock Life”.
The lyrics to “These Things That I’ve Done” speak directly to Pinfield’s story. The song begins:
“When there’s nowhere else to run,
Is there room for one more son?
One more son?
If you can hold on,
If you can hold on,
I wanna stand up!
I wanna let go!
You Know, you know. No, you don’t, you don’t
I wanna shine on in the hearts of men.
I want a meaning from the back of my broken hand.
I’m so much older than I can take.…..” and, on it goes.
I have friends who have served in active duty and have read much about how doing so has changed them. This song touches upon that very well and then adds in Pinfield’s intervention with the oft-repeated line “I’ve got soul but I’m not a soldier“. “All These Things That I’ve Done” comes across as a fun, anthemic arena sing-a-long but, there is a more serious side to its’ message. God Bless all those who have put themselves in harm’s way for peaceful purposes. Never having served in such dire situations, I will never know what you know nor feel how you feel. But, I imagine that it must have been tough and so, in a tribute that is small and insignificant compared to what you have done for us, I offer you a song. I hope that you accept the gesture and find some comfort there. Enjoy.
The link to the official website for The Killers can be found here.
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