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Song Stories

“Casey Jones”

The Grateful Dead | 1970

The real-life Casey Jones, a conductor with the Illinois Central Railroad, crashed his passenger train into a stalled freight locomotive on a foggy night in 1900. But drugs had nothing to do with it. In fact, Jones — the wreck’s lone fatality — became a legend for refusing to bail when he saw trouble ahead. But in his fictionalized account, Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter’s rail accident had a Sixties twist: a coked-up conductor. “I always thought it’s a pretty good musical picture of what cocaine is like,” Jerry Garcia told Rolling Stone. “A little bit evil. And hard-edged.”

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Song Stories

“Stillness Is the Move”

Dirty Projectors | 2009

A Wim Wenders film and a rapper inspired the Dirty Projectors duo David Longstreth and Amber Coffmanto write "sort of a love song." "We rented the movie Wings of Desire from Dave's brother's recommendation, and he had me go through it and just write down some things that I found interesting, and they made it into the song," Coffman said. As for the hip-hop connection, Longstreth explained, "The beat is based on T-Pain. We commissioned a radio mix of the song by the guy who mixes all of Timbaland's records, but the mix we made sounded way better, so we didn't use it."

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