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


The Pack | 2006

Berkeley, California rappers the Pack made their footwear choice clear in 2006 with the song "Vans." The track caught the attention of Too $hort, who signed them to his imprint. MTV refused to play the video for the song, though, claiming it was essentially a commercial for the product. Rapper Lil' B disagreed. "I didn’t know nobody [at] Vans," he said. "I was just a rapper who wore Vans." Even without MTV's support, Lil' B recognized the impact of the track. "God blessed me with such a revolutionary song… People around my age know who really started a lot of the dressing people are into now."

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