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Song Stories

“Eruption”

Van Halen | 1978

Eddie Van Halen's six-string showcase immediately inspired countless guitarists to decorate their instruments in wild stripe designs, purchase Floyd Rose tremolos and learn the two-hand tapping technique. In 2008, Van Halen told Rolling Stone how he came up with the two-hand tap. "I was watching Jimmy Page going [sings hammering guitar lick], like that, with one hand, in 'Heartbreaker.' I thought, 'I can play like that, and you wouldn't know if I was using this finger or this one." Originally a concert warm-up piece for Eddie, "Eruption" earned a spot on the group's debut album after producer Ted Templeman heard it.

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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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