Song Stories

“California Love”

Dr. Dre and 2Pac | 1996

Based on a riff from a Joe Cocker song as interpreted by the Ultramagnetic MCs, Tupac Shakur's version went to Number One upon his release from prison in 1995. Seven months before he died of gun violence, Tupac told Rolling Stone he hoped the song would be remembered not for its glorification of thug life but for its celebration of high living: "I want it to be about money," he said.

Song Stories Main Next

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.

More Song Stories entries »