Song Stories


Hole | 1991

Courtney Love said she wrote this raucous take on Joni Mitchell's melancholy "Both Sides Now" as a diss to her mother. "We used to be forced to sing that in the f---ing Volvo in unison," Love told Rolling Stone. "I felt so humiliated by it." Love, who as a five-year-old is pictured on the back of a Grateful Dead album cover, said the hippie ideals that didn't materialize turned the next generation into drug addicts, which is why Hole's take on "Both Sides Now" features references to drug abuse and self-hatred.

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Song Stories

“San Francisco Mabel Joy”

Mickey Newbury | 1969

A country-folk song of epic proportions, "San Francisco Mabel Joy" tells the tale of a poor Georgia farmboy who wound up in prison after a move to the Bay Area found love turning into tragedy. First released by Mickey Newbury in 1969, it might be more familiar through covers by Waylon Jennings, Joan Baez and Kenny Rogers. "It was a five-minute song written in a two-minute world," Newbury said. "I was told it would never be cut by any artist ... I was told you could not use the term 'redneck' in a song and get it recorded."

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