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State of Arkansas Pardons Keith Richards

July 19, 2006 3:05 PM ET

Keith Richards must be so relieved: his dramatic 30-year-plus battle with the state of Arkansas finally came to a close. Back in 1975, Richards was arrested in Fordyce, Arkansas, while traveling from Memphis to Dallas and pleeded guilty to charges of reckless driving. He paid the fine. But since then the lingering horror of his besmirched reputation has positively haunted Richards. And Governor Mike Huckabee has proven he has a heart by submitting an application for clemency on behalf of the rocker, who was then pardoned by the state's Parole Board. Congrats, Keef.

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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."

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