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Song Stories

“Blinded by the Light”

Manfred Mann's Earth Band | 1976

Although Bruce Springsteen's original never charted, Manfred Mann's cover version topped the Billboard singles chart. Mann told Rolling Stone he was a better interpreter of other people's songs than a writer of his own. "If you listen to Springsteen's 'Blinded by the Light,' I've taken out words; I haven't been very honest to the original at all." When he replaced the line "cut loose like a deuce" with "revved up like a deuce," many misheard it as "wrapped up like a douche." Years later, Springsteen joked about it on VH1 Storytellers. "I have a feeling that is why the song skyrocketed to Number One," he said.

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Song Stories

“San Francisco Mabel Joy”

Mickey Newbury | 1969

A country-folk song of epic proportions, "San Francisco Mabel Joy" tells the tale of a poor Georgia farmboy who wound up in prison after a move to the Bay Area found love turning into tragedy. First released by Mickey Newbury in 1969, it might be more familiar through covers by Waylon Jennings, Joan Baez and Kenny Rogers. "It was a five-minute song written in a two-minute world," Newbury said. "I was told it would never be cut by any artist ... I was told you could not use the term 'redneck' in a song and get it recorded."

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