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Song Stories

“Enola Gay”

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark | 1980

"Enola Gay" is a synthpop song with an unlikely provenance: It was named after the bomber (which, in turn, was named after the pilot's mother) that dropped the devastating "Little Boy" atomic bomb on Hiroshima during WWII. "Many people simply don't know what it's actually about," Andy McCluskey of the British duo said. "Some even thought it was a coded message that we were gay." Actually, OMD had a much simpler explanation as to where the song came from. "We were both geeks about WWII airplanes," he said. "The most famous and influential single bomber was Enola Gay. Obvious choice for us, really."

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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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