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Song Stories

“Everyday People”

Sly and the Family Stone | 1968

"Everyday People" managed to trailblaze in two different ways -- it was one of the first pop hits to deal with the subject of racial harmony, and it utilized Larry Graham's "slap" technique on the bass guitar, which would soon be copied by countless other bassists. Graham once said about his pulsating style, "I'd never done that before … that's where the freedom of creativity came in for the band, that we'd be allowed to do that." In 1978, the song's line "Different strokes for different folks" would be borrowed for the title of the hit television show Diff'rent Strokes.

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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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