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Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 2011: Complete Coverage

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Class of 2009

Photos: Metallica, Jeff Beck, Run DMC and More at the 2009 Induction Ceremony

Photos: Metallica, Jeff Beck, Run DMC and More are Immortalized in the Class of 2009

Photos: Jimmy Page, the E Street Band, Eminem and More Backstage at the 2009 Induction Ceremony

Metallica, Run-DMC, Jeff Beck Join the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at Wild Induction Ceremony

Behind the Scenes at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction

Class of 2008

Photos: Madonna, Iggy Pop Justin Timberlake and More at the 2008 Induction Ceremony

Madonna, Mellencamp, Cohen Honored at Emotional Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction

Class of 2006 

Blondie, Black Sabbath Enter Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Class of 2005

U2, Buddy Guy Rock the Hall of Fame

Class of 2004 

ZZ Top, Prince Rock Into Hall

Class of 2002

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Talking Heads Inducted

Inductees Sound Off Backstage

Class of 2001

Love in the Air at Rock Hall

Class of 2000

McCartney, Etheridge, Robertson Usher Taylor, Raitt and Clapton into Rock Hall

Hall of Fame Inductees Sound Off Backstage

Earth, Wind and Fire Groove Into Hall

Class of 1999

The Boss, McCartney and Billy Joel Crowned Rock Gods

Class of 1997

CSN, Jackson 5 Join Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

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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 »
 
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