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Song Stories

“Between the Wars”

Billy Bragg | 1985

With no backing but his own electric guitar, Billy Bragg sang "Between the Wars" as a first-person narrative of a miner hoping his hard work would be rewarded by care from the government his efforts helped support. Bragg wrote it while Welsh miners were on strike, his interest in penning politically conscious material spurred by Leon Rosselson's folk tune "The World Turned Upside Down." As Bragg remembered, he wrote half of it in a friend's bathroom, "and she wanted to use the bathroom. So I finished the last verse on a bench on Wimbledon Common."

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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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