Song Stories

“Born Under a Bad Sign”

Albert King | 1967

One of the most famous down-on-my-luck blues, "Born Under a Bad Sign" found Albert King thankful for bad luck if the alternative was no luck at all, his laments punctuated by some trademark stinging guitar licks. The song reached a wider audience when it was covered by Cream on their 1968 hit album Born Under a Bad Sign. "Astrology and all that stuff was pretty big then," explained William Bell, who co-wrote the song with Booker T. Jones, in Soulsville U.S.A. "I said, 'Hey, we've never had a blues tune done about astrology. I got this idea that might work.'"

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Song Stories

“Wake Up Everybody”

John Legend and the Roots | 2010

A Number One record by Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes in 1976 (a McFadden- and Whitehead-penned classic sung by Teddy Pendergrass) inspired the title and lead single from Wake Up!, John Legend's tribute album to message music. The more familiar strains of "Wake Up Everybody" also fit his agenda. "It basically sums up, in a very concise way, all the things we were thinking about when we were putting this record together in that it's about justice, doing the right thing and coming together to make the world a better place," he said. Vocalists Common and Melanie Fiona assist Legend on this mission to connect.

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