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Teen Drops Out of High School To Become Professional "Guitar Hero"

August 19, 2008 10:53 AM ET

Call it The Decline of Western Civilization IV: Blake Peebles, a teenager in North Carolina, recently dropped out of high school to pursue his dream of playing music. While this sounds like an everyday occurrence, there is a catch: Peebles dropped out so he can concentrate on playing Guitar Hero with hopes of becoming good enough at hitting colored plastic buttons to play in the surprisingly-lucrative world of competitive gaming. Peebles has already won a few Hero tournaments, but so far his winnings include gift certificates, gaming equipment and 52 Chick-fil-A meals. For what it's worth, Peebles was doing poorly to begin with in school, and his parents have since hired him a private tutor. If Peebles lives up to his high-flying Guitar Hero dreams, he could earn up to $80,000 a year on the competitive circuit, though groupies should be slightly harder to come by.

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Song Stories

“San Francisco Mabel Joy”

Mickey Newbury | 1969

A country-folk song of epic proportions, "San Francisco Mabel Joy" tells the tale of a poor Georgia farmboy who wound up in prison after a move to the Bay Area found love turning into tragedy. First released by Mickey Newbury in 1969, it might be more familiar through covers by Waylon Jennings, Joan Baez and Kenny Rogers. "It was a five-minute song written in a two-minute world," Newbury said. "I was told it would never be cut by any artist ... I was told you could not use the term 'redneck' in a song and get it recorded."

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