More Top Stories: Bono, Libertines and Aerosmith

August 24, 2010 10:00 AM ET

Bono Meets With Russian President
Bono, who will play U2's first-ever concert in Russia tonight as part of the current 360 Tour, had tea with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev at the president's home in Sochi, Russia. Medvedev, a classic rock fan, praised U2 for writing music that "unites generations" and thanked Bono for his charitable efforts. [AP]

Simon Cowell Bans Auto-Tune on X Factor
Following a scandal where U.K. singing competition The X Factor used Auto-Tune to pitch correct one contestant's voice during the audition stages, Simon Cowell has promised to band Auto-Tune from the program and insisting that the software had never been used during the actual competition. [Deadline]

The Libertines Play Reunion Warm-Up
With The Libertines set to officially reunite at this weekend's Reading and Leeds Festivals, Pete Doherty, Carl Barat and the rest of the band took thet stage last night at London's HMV Forum for a "live rehearsal" in front of 300 fans. The Libertines performed material from their two albums, plus the unreleased track "Lust of the Libertines." [NME]

NY State Fair Struggles to Sell Aerosmith Tickets
Aerosmith was guaranteed $1 million for a gig at the New York State Fair in Syracuse tomorrow, but so far ticket sales have only generated $795,000. [ Syracuse Post-Standard ]

Vampire Weekend's Contra Cover Model Speaks
Ann Kirsten Kennis, the former fashion model who sued Vampire Weekend after the band failed to get permission to use her photographon the cover of their album Contra, grants an interview to Vanity Fair. [ VF ]

Happy Mondays' Bez Arrested
Happy Mondays dancer Bez was sentenced to prison for four weeks after attempting to strangle his ex-fiancee in an argument over money. He was originally given probation and a fine, but shouted in court that he refused to pay the fine, and was then given the jail time. [Spinner]

Dexys Midnight Runners Reissue Planned
On October 11th Dexys Midnight Runners will reissue their 1980 debut album Searching for the Young Soul as a double disc set: the original LP plus unreleased demos, TV and radio performances and more. (Their hit "Come On Eileen" appeared on the band's second album.) [Pitchfork]

Plus: Guns N' Roses warned against being tardy, Jim Jarmusch plotting Stooges documentary and more.

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Song Stories

“American Girl”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

More Song Stories entries »