.

Song Stories

“Flagpole Sitta”

Harvey Danger | 1998

"If I died today and there was an obituary about me, it would run in the local paper and it would say that I was the author of that song," Harvey Danger frontman Sean Nelson said about the inescapable ubiquity of "Flagpole Sitta," especially in movies and TV shows. "I'm okay with it, but I definitely don't view it as an accomplishment because I view it as a strange fluke, and the fluke has nothing to do how good the song is. That song, for me, has transcended quality; it's just bizarre and perverse. What I meant when I wrote the words and melody doesn't matter at all anymore."

prev
Song Stories Main Next

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."

More Song Stories entries »
www.expandtheroom.com