One would think the whole point of being a rock star would be to avoid needing imaginary girlfriends or boyfriends. But judging from the stories artists like the Who and the Rolling Stones tell in the following songs, that's not true.
In early 2013, we learned that Manti Te'o, a star linebacker for Notre Dame, was the victim of a catfishing scheme centered around a fake girlfriend who had reportedly died early in the football season, but had, in fact, never existed. Although he denied knowing about the hoax, he eventually admitted that he lied about having met her so that people wouldn't think it was weird that he was in a relationship with someone whom he had only chatted with online.
Since then, Te'o has gone on to a successful professional career, spending four years with the San Diego Chargers, then moving on to the New Orleans Saints. But regardless of what he achieves on the football field, he'll forever be associated with the plight of the fictitious Lennay Kekua, so here's a list of 10 Imaginary Girlfriend Songs that proves even the most famous musicians remember what it was like to have to daydream about having a better romantic life.
"She's Not There"The Zombies
From: 'Begin Here' (1965)
Now, to be fair, the protagonist in this story has indeed found himself a real life, flesh and blood woman. The only problem is that she's not emotionally available to him when he needs her. If this song wasn't written in the '60s we'd assume smartphones were involved.
From: 'Crime of the Century' (1974)
This song warns quite clearly of the dangers one invites by spending too much time daydreaming about how they'd like things to be instead of, you know, making them happen. The main focus seems to be on other kinds of life accomplishments, but we propose that the message translates pretty nicely to someone with an imaginary girlfriend.
"Daydream Believer"The Monkees
From: 'The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees' (1968)
Look out! We've got our second real girlfriend alert -- a wife, even. But it seems quite possible that she's gonna be nothing more than a memory if this guy doesn't help start accomplishing some of the big things they imagined for their future.
"See You In Your Dreams"Kiss
From: 'Rock and Roll Over' (1976)
OK, you need to switch the gender to make this song fit our imaginary girlfriend list, but the concept's there. And oh how the ladies fall at Gene Simmons' feet, eh? This poor woman can't help herself from imagining him as her boyfriend when she gets under the covers each night.
"Imaginary Lover"Atlanta Rhythm Section
From: 'Champagne Jam' (1978)
It's important to present both sides to any issue, and Southern rockers Atlanta Rhythm Section are here to stick up for those with imaginary girlfriends on this smooth, seductive little groover. After all, imaginary lovers never turn you down, and are always around whenever and wherever you need them. Fair points all around!
From: 'Running on Empty' (1977)
Who knew Mr. "Lives in the Balance" could be such a cut-up? Jackson Browne sings a humorous ode to self-pleasure in the extremely flimsy disguise of a love song to "Rosie," who wears his ring and makes sure he's never alone even when the drummer steals his intended date for the night.
"Be My Girl - Sally"The Police
From: 'Outlandos d'Amour' (1978)
For the majority of its short time on your radio, this is just an extremely catchy (and yes, unbelievably repetitive) request for romantic commitment. But once the creepy poetry section comes in, it becomes quite clear that sweet "Sally" is in fact an rubber toy: "Experience something different / With our new imported toy / She's loving, warm, inflatable / And a guarantee of joy!"
"Pictures of Lily"The Who
"So let me get this straight..." said the Child Protective Services officer. "Your son was having trouble sleeping, so you gave him an old pinup photo to uhh, shall we say relax with. Then he fell in love with this imaginary girlfriend and spends all his time dreaming that they lived together? Yeah, we're gonna need you to come with us, sir..."
"Just My Imagination"The Rolling Stones
From 'Some Girls' (1978)
Now, there's letting your imagination run away with you, and then there's what Mick Jagger (covering the Tempations) does here. Each morning he sees the girl of his dreams pass by his window, and launches himself into a series of escalating daydreams that winds up with the two of them married and raising a family of four together. Pssst! You're a rich rock star, just go introduce yourself, dude.
"Dream Weaver"Gary Wright
From 'The Dream Weaver' (1975)
Let's face it, if the guys who have imaginary girlfriends formed their own country -- online, we're assuming -- "Dream Weaver" would be their national anthem. The entire song is about jacking into some sort of romantic Matrix each night, where a magical companion helps you "cross the highways of fantasy" and "forget today's pain." And with that, we have reached the morning light; time to go pick up the wife. Honest.