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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

“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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