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Song Stories

“Bright Lights Big City”

Jimmy Reed | 1961

Using the relaxed blues shuffle common to many of his recordings, Jimmy Reed's "Bright Lights Big City" good-naturedly laments how urban glitz has gone to his baby's head. This was one of five songs the Rolling Stones chose to record for a demo they recorded in March 1963 shortly before issuing their first single, although they did not include it on any of their official releases. Harmonizing with Reed is his wife Mary, whom he credited with having "started helpin' me write that thing, word for word."

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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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