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Song Stories

“Bang the Drum All Day”

Todd Rundgren | 1982

This ode to carefree skin pounding was initially only a minor hit. But it later became a rock staple when radio stations across the country began playing its popular refrain -- "I don't want to work, I want to bang on the drum all day" -- on Friday afternoons to get listeners hyped about the weekend. "It's always good to be somewhere in the public consciousness," Rundgren said of the song's second wind. "You've done something that very few people have accomplished, which is to find a place in the culture, more or less, that transcended anything that you originally tried to accomplish."

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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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