The Year in Breaking Artists: Fleet Foxes, Jamey Johnson and More

December 31, 2008 12:40 PM ET

We love it when Breaking Artists make good and wind up on our Best Albums of the Year list, like Fleet Foxes, Jamey Johnson, the Knux and Bon Iver did in 2008. Here's a look back at their Breaking videos, plus two bonus clips — Deerhunter busking on a Brooklyn street and Sam Champion rocking out in their van. To review all our 2008 Breaking stories, performances, exclusive downloads, video premieres and more, spend your holiday weekend with the Breaking Blog.

Fleet Foxes

Jamey Johnson

The Knux

Bon Iver


Sam Champion

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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 »