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Neil Young’s “Ohio”

Neil Young’s “Ohio”

| May 4, 2017 | 2 Comments

On May 4, 1970, a student demonstration at Kent State left four students dead, one paralyzed and eight others wounded.  The protest, meant to be a demonstration against the Vietnam War, ended when the Ohio National Guard opened fire into the crowd with over 60 rounds for a solid 13 seconds. When Neil Young saw […]

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The Lion Sleeps Tonight

The Lion Sleeps Tonight

| May 1, 2017 | 22 Comments

Wimoweh. For the last 50 years, that happy little word has been a universally recognized shorthand for the song known as “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.” From Pete Seeger’s version in 1952 (titled “Wimoweh”) to the Tokens’ No. 1 single in 1961 to its featured role in the hugely popular Disney film and Broadway musical The […]

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Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On”

Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On”

| March 31, 2017 | 16 Comments

In memory of Marvin Gaye who died on April 1, 1984—and whose 75th birthday would be April 2—here’s the story behind the enduring classic “What’s Going On.”

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The Christmas Song

The Christmas Song

| December 5, 2016 | 8 Comments

It was a sweltering hot July afternoon in 1945 when Mel Tormé showed up for a writing session at the Toluca Lake house of his lyric partner Bob Wells. Mel let himself in and called out for Bob. No answer. He walked over to the piano, and there, resting on the music board, was a […]

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Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

| December 2, 2016 | 10 Comments

The story behind Bob Mays’ beloved Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, a story written to comfort his daughter and was turned into a best-selling Christmas song.

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Merle Haggard’s “Okie from Muskogee”

Merle Haggard’s “Okie from Muskogee”

| April 6, 2016 | 0 Comments

Merle Haggard often gets name-checked in contemporary country songs. It’s a quick way to tip a hat to tradition and add a helping of honky-tonk cred. Haggard’s 41 No. 1 country hits and place in country’s Mount Rushmore aside, his name personifies the hard life that was once synonymous with the genre. Prison sentences, multiple […]

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Graham Nash “Our House”

Graham Nash “Our House”

| February 2, 2016 | 19 Comments

Here is the story—in Graham Nash’s own words—behind the classic “Our House,” one of the sweetest love songs ever written while he was living with Joni Mitchell.

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The Girl From Ipanema

The Girl From Ipanema

| January 23, 2016 | 23 Comments

The story behind “The Girl From Ipanema,” the second-most recorded song in history by composer Antonio Carlos Jobim and the poet Vinícius de Moraes.

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Janis Joplin’s Mercedes Benz

Janis Joplin’s Mercedes Benz

| January 19, 2016 | 30 Comments

It’s Thursday, Oct. 1, at the Sunset Sound recording studio in Los Angeles. Janis Joplin asks producer Paul Rothchild to roll tape. She has a song she’d like to sing.

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Heartbreak Hotel

Heartbreak Hotel

| January 10, 2016 | 7 Comments

On Jan. 10, 1956, Elvis Presley went into Nashville’s RCA Studio to record “Heartbreak Hotel” which went on to become his first #1 hit. Here’s the story behind the song written by Mae Axton and Tommy Durden.

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