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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Joan Baez’s ‘Diamonds & Rust’—Reflections on an Old Friend Named 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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Friend & Lover’s ‘Reach Out of the Darkness’: So Groovy Now

The song begins with a lyric that could only have been written in the late ’60s: “I think it’s so groovy now that people are finally getting together.” And the record was attributed to artists whose name could only have

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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 Crazy World of Arthur Brown’s Incendiary “Fire”

He took the title of his one hit seriously, even putting flaming items on his head while he performed. But he never made the charts again after his 1968 smash.

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Barry McGuire vs. Barry Sadler: When the News Hit #1

One chart-topper listed complaints about the inequities and horrors of the day, while the other was a patriotic paean to the Army’s elite special forces.

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ELO’s ‘Don’t Bring Me Down… Bruce!’

Most classic rock acts have a misheard lyric. It goes with the territory. So what did Jeff Lynne do when concert audiences started singing along to his big hit?

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Grand Funk’s ‘We’re an American Band’ Backstory

The song’s author, GFR drummer Don Brewer, explains how the 1973 all-time classic rock hit came about while the band was on tour. Sweet, sweet Connie…

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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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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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