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Song Stories

“All Star”

Smash Mouth | 1999

Smash Mouth guitarist Greg Camp was thinking about basketball when he wrote this motivating pep song, but as soon as it was recorded, singer Steve Harwell thought about possible licensing opportunities. "We were going, 'Gatorade, football, baseball, basketball — this song's going to be everywhere.'" And soon the song was everywhere: in movies, commercials and sports arenas. While some thought bands like Led Zeppelin were selling out by having their songs in commercials around this time, Harwell never had second thoughts about the concept. "I got into this to entertain, and, of course, make a living from it, and to be able to have our music heard in whatever way."

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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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