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Song Stories

“Brown Sugar”

The Rolling Stones | 1971

According to Keith Richards, this outrageous ode to a black fantasy goddess was the first song for which Mick Jagger composed the main riff. Jagger came up with the concept, slave ship imagery and all -- most likely inspired by his affair with African-American singer Claudia Lennear -- while in the Australian outback filming Ned Kelly, and he admits that "Brown Sugar" is about more, and less, than the sordid lyrics indicate. "They've got a lot of different levels. There are drug references that are sort of covered. The whole thing is a double-entendre," Jagger told Rolling Stone in 2000, adding, "I don't know quite what to think of it now."

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Song Stories

“Road to Nowhere”

Talking Heads | 1985

A cappella harmonies give way to an a fuller arrangement blending pop and electro-disco on "Road to Nowhere," but the theme remains constant: We're on an eternal journey to an undefined destination. The song vaulted back into the news a quarter century after it was a hit when Gov. Charlie Crist used it in his unsuccessful 2010 campaign for the U.S. Senate in Florida. "It's this little ditty about how there's no order and no plan and no scheme to life and death and it doesn't mean anything, but it's all right," Byrne said with a chuckle.

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