How the Song Came to Be

Songwriting is a mercurial if not magical process that yields gems that have significant musical and cultural impact and timeless appeal. We talk with artists about how they created rock music’s greatest and most memorable songs.

Tom Petty’s ‘American Girl’: A Perfect Rock Song

Though the second single from the Heartbreakers’ 1976 self-titled debut failed to chart on Top 40, its story about the girl alone on the balcony overlooking US Route 441 resonates with his fans

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A-Ha Reinterprets ‘Take on Me’ Via MTV Unplugged

It’s a single you’ve heard countless times and its 1985 video has nearly 500 million views on YouTube. A touching acoustic version completely transforms the song

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Dr. Hook ‘Cover of the Rolling Stone’

A band records a song about its burning desire to make it to the cover of the leading music magazine. We’ve got the backstory. Do you know who wrote it?

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Pete Townshend’s ‘Teenage Wasteland’

For years, he worked on an ambitious project called Lifehouse. It was intended to be another rock opera and a logical follow-up to Tommy. This song evolved into “Baba O’Riley”

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John Fogerty Talks About Writing ‘Proud Mary’

50 years after he began writing one of his most-beloved songs, the musician shared how he first started writing it and how the title came to be

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Remember Nelson? Twin Brothers are Turning 50

Less than 5 years after the untimely death of their father, Ricky Nelson, Gunnar and Matthew were on top of the music world themselves

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Harry Chapin’s Inspiration for ‘Taxi’

‘Cat’s in the Cradle’ may have been Harry Chapin’s biggest hit, but ‘Taxi’ resonated with listeners, perhaps due to its real-life connection.

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