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"Rare" Smiths Compilation Appears on Digital Music Services

June 18, 2008 10:35 AM ET

A compilation of rare songs by the Smiths, simply called Rare, has popped up on digital music services like Amazon and Rhapsody. While it hasn't been determined whether the release is Warner-approved or a bootleg that somehow infiltrated these shops, the compilation does have some interesting, hard-to-find tracks, like "This Charming Man" B sides "Jeane" and "Wonderful Woman" and a studio version of Johnny Marr's instrumental "The Draize." The set is also reportedly available on some countries' iTunes stores, but we couldn't locate it in the U.S. one. Still, hard-core Smiths fans question the validity of this release, as many of the songs are available on other bootlegs, and Rare doesn't seem to have improved sound over those release.

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Song Stories

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

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