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Song Stories

“Go On”

Jack Johnson | 2008

Danny Riley, a cousin of Johnson's wife, was diagnosed with brain cancer while in high school. Some time after graduation, he went to live with Johnson and his family. While attending college in Santa Barbara, Caifornia, he succumbed to the disease at age 19. A year later, Johnson released this song, which juxtaposed coming to grips with Riley's death and watching his own son grow and learn to tread water for the first time. "It's about learning to let go of someone you love," he told Rolling Stone, "watching them swim away."

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Song Stories

“Road to Nowhere”

Talking Heads | 1985

A cappella harmonies give way to an a fuller arrangement blending pop and electro-disco on "Road to Nowhere," but the theme remains constant: We're on an eternal journey to an undefined destination. The song vaulted back into the news a quarter century after it was a hit when Gov. Charlie Crist used it in his unsuccessful 2010 campaign for the U.S. Senate in Florida. "It's this little ditty about how there's no order and no plan and no scheme to life and death and it doesn't mean anything, but it's all right," Byrne said with a chuckle.

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