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Song Stories

“Dyers Eve”

Metallica | 1988

One of Metallica's speediest and most ferocious songs is "Dyers Eve," the closing track of 1988's …And Justice for All. And there's a reason why the song is completely over-the-top: James Hetfield vents throughout about childhood trauma he had experienced. As the singer-guitarist explained to Rolling Stone, "'Dyers Eve' portrays a child who's been sheltered from most of the outside world, as I was with this religion that my parents were involved in, Christian Science. That alienated me from a lot of the kids at school." Perhaps due to its challenging tempo, it was not until 2004 that Metallica played "Dyers Eve" in its entirety in concert.

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Song Stories

“American Girl”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

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