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Song Stories

“Eight Days a Week”

The Beatles | 1964

Originally released on the U.K. album Beatles for Sale, this song was issued as a U.S.-only single, as well as on the American LP Beatles VI, in 1965. And although its reaching Number One marks its classic status, co-writer John Lennon did not share that assessment of the track. "We struggled to record it and struggled to make it into a song," he said in 1980. "It was [Paul McCartney's] original effort, but I think we both worked on it. But it was lousy anyway." McCartney has given two explanations for the title at different times: The first is that it was an overworked chauffeur’s response to Paul's question about how many days he'd been driving; the second is that it was one of the many elliptical "Ringo-isms" Ringo Starr would come up with, alongside "a hard day's night" and "tomorrow never knows."

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Song Stories

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

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