How the Song Came to Be

Gordon Lightfoot’s Tale of a Ship’s Crew and Its Captain

The singer-songwriter had a string of big hits including 1976’s “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” based on a true story of a doomed freighter

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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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Queen’s Homage to Space Exploration: ’39’

The band’s guitarist, Brian May, can do many things well, one of which is to write songs. This one, about time travel, presaged his PhD in astrophysics

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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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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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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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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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A-Ha Reinterprets ‘Take on Me’ With 2 New Versions

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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Joni Mitchell’s ‘Woodstock’: Behind the Song

The composer of one of the greatest countercultural anthems never made it to the festival that served as the song’s subject.

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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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