How the Song Came to Be

The Gentrys’ ‘Keep on Dancing’: Behind the ’60s Garage Classic

The Memphis septet took an obscure R&B tune and turned it into a top 5 rocker in 1965. The story behind the recording–and the band–is fascinating.

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A-Ha! Unplugged ‘Take on Me’ Transforms the Song

A song you’ve heard countless times; its 1985 video has an astonishing number of views on YouTube. A touching acoustic version transforms the song

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The Beatles’ Forgotten Top 20 Hit: A ‘Sweet’ Story

A top 20 hit in the U.S., yet it has received virtually no radio airplay in decades and is almost never mentioned in accounts of the band’s early days.

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When Motown Went to ‘War’—Edwin Starr’s #1 Hit @50

When Motown’s chief was reluctant to release an antiwar song by the Temptations as a single, another singer stepped in to re-record it. It went to #1.

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They’re Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!

It was bizarre but an instant smash hit. Then there was a backlash. Read the strange tale of Napoleon XIV and hear the song that drove people mad.

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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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Dion’s Moving ‘Abraham, Martin and John’

Tension was in the air in 1968 and rock music reflected the turmoil. Then came a voice from the past, gently singing of non-violence and hope.

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Sonny & Cher’s ‘The Beat Goes On’ (& On & On)…

A breakdown of the way things used to be vs. the inevitable winds of change, it gave them their third major hit. But some things, it seemed, never changed.

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Gerry Rafferty, ‘Baker Street,’ and That Sax Solo!

The smash hit was written while its author was hanging out in a flat in London, trying to escape from frustrating legal proceedings.

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‘In the Year 2525’: The Gloomiest #1?

It was, to be sure, one of the bleakest songs ever to hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. And then Zager and Evans never charted again.

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