.

Song Stories

“Blank Generation”

Richard Hell | 1977

When Richard Hell came up with verses for "Blank Generation," he certainly didn’t know he was creating a slogan and an anthem for a movement, nor did he bank on the Sex Pistols nicking his idea for their own "Pretty Vacant." Hell says he was "pretty p---ed off” when he first heard the Pistols song, pointing the finger at the punk provocateurs' manager and mastermind: “Malcolm MacLaren had stolen that whole attitude from 'Blank Generation.' But ideas are free property," Hell said. "I stole s---, too." Good thing he owned up to his own theft, as much of "Blank Generation" bears a more-than-coincidental resemblance to "The Beat Generation," a 1959 novelty single recorded by poet Rod McKuen.

prev
Song Stories Main Next

Song Stories

“Madame George”

Van Morrison | 1968

One of the first stream-of-consciousness epics to make it onto a Van Morrison record, his drawn-out farewell to the eccentric "Madame George" lasted nearly 10 minutes, combining ingredients from folk, jazz and classical music. The character that gave the song its title provoked speculation that it was about a drag queen, though Morrison denied this in Rolling Stone. "If you see it as a male or a female or whatever, it's your trip," he remarked. "I see it as a ... a Swiss cheese sandwich. Something like that."

More Song Stories entries »
www.expandtheroom.com