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Song Stories

“Back in Black”

AC/DC | 1980

When Bon Scott died on February 19, 1980, some assumed AC/DC were done for. But with new singer Brian Johnson in tow, the hard-rockin' Aussies roared back with the album Back in Black, aong with an anthem of the same name. "I just wrote what came into my head, which at the time seemed like mumbo jumbo," explained Johnson. "'Nine lives. Cats eyes. Abusing every one of them and running wild.' The boys got it, though. They saw Bon's life in that lyric." At last count, the Back in Black full-length is the third-highest-selling album ever, at 49 million copies worldwide -- behind only Michael Jackson’s Thriller and Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon.

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Song Stories

“Santa Monica”

Everclear | 1996

After his brother and girlfriend both died of drug overdoses, Art Alexakis -- depressed and hooked on drugs himself -- jumped off the Santa Monica Pier in California, determined to die. "It was really stupid," said the Everclear frontman, who would further explore his personal emotional journey in the song "Father of Mine." "I went under the water. Then I said, 'I don't wanna die.'" The song, declaring "Let's swim out past the breakers/and watch the world die," was intended as a manifesto for change, Alexakis said. "Let the world do what it's gonna do and just live on our own."

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