How the Song Came to Be

Iron Butterfly’s Classic ‘In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida’

The single and album signaled a shift from the psychedelic sound toward something more aggressive, loud and primal. Rock fans either loved it or hated it.

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‘Brandy’ by Looking Glass (It’s a Fine Song)

For one week only, in the summer of 1972, it was the best-selling, most often played single in the United States of America.

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‘Love Me Do’: The Beatles’ 1st Single Was the Sound of Identity

We don’t talk about it as one of the great debut singles, but perhaps that’s because it transcends the normal categories.

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Joan Baez ‘Diamonds & Rust’—Reflections on Her Friend Bob

Dylan asked her who her new song was about. She told him it was about her ex-husband. It wasn’t, of course. It was about Bob Dylan.

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The Five Americans’ Catchy Hit, ‘Western Union’: Dit-Da-Dit-Da-Dit

The clean-cut band from Oklahoma chose its name to help stand out from groups that were part of the British Invasion, and scored a catchy single in 1967

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The Doobie Brothers’ ‘What a Fool Believes’: Behind Their #1 Hit

The song almost didn’t happen. Michael McDonald’s sister told him it sounded like ‘circus music’ and to forget it. Good thing he didn’t listen to her!

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How Dr. Hook Got on the ‘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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Elton John’s ‘Levon’: A Pauper to a Pawn

The first single from 1971’s Madman Across the Water is “one of our finest moments lyrically and melodically” and includes Paul Buckmaster’s soaring orchestral arrangements.

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First Banger: The Shredding Delight of the Beatles’ ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’

This is the first Beatles guitar solo that shreds, and it’s hard to fathom/estimate how many kids decided they wanted to be guitar heroes upon hearing Harrison’s thrilling break.

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The Jaggerz’ ‘The Rapper’: You Know What He’s After

“The song was something that I wrote watching people in nightclubs. You’d see these dudes go over and start rapping to chicks,” said the band’s Donnie Iris.

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