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Song Stories

“Ain't It a Shame”

Fats Domino | 1955

Fats Domino and his producer/collaborator Dave Bartholomew pioneered the big beat of rock with "Ain't That a Shame." Domino's original single bore the title "Ain't It a Shame," and it's alleged that Pat Boone tried to retitle the song 'Isn't It a Shame' when he cut his whitewashed cover version. (Personally, Domino was partial to Cheap Trick's big, fat, hard-rock version, a Top 40 hit in 1979 from their At Budokan set.) Regardless of what it was called, the kids preferred Domino’s New Orleans-flavored original and made it a Top 10 hit. Bartholomew, who initially had his doubts about the song, warmed up to the simplicity of Domino’s lyric: "'Ain't That a Shame' will never die," he said. "It will be here when the world comes to an end."

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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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