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Song Stories

“81”

Joanna Newsom | 2010

"81" is the result of Joanna Newsom delving into pop territory and writing a shorter song than her usual ruminative psychedelic folk compositions. "You know, from the beginning, from the very first record, I've always loved great pop music, and I've always held that in my mind as something that would be fun to do, and maybe even something I thought I was doing sometimes, whatever my version of that is," she said. But the singer/keyboard player/harpist admitted she "would do a very bad job if I was really wanting to write a record of pop songs. I don't know if I can approach writing that way."

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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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