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Song Stories

“God Save the Queen”

The Sex Pistols | 1977

The Sex Pistols were unhappy with the rosy picture that the British government was painting to outsiders amid the country’s turmoil-filled mid-1970s period, and they sought to set the record straight by penning their own version of the British Commonwealth anthem "God Save the Queen." In the Pistols documentary The Filth and the Fury, Johnny Rotten explained, "You don't write 'God Save The Queen' because you hate the English race, you write a song like that because you love them; and you're fed up with them being mistreated." Despite being banned by the BBC, "God Save the Queen" still reached Number Two on the U.K. singles chart (Rod Stewart's "I Don't Want to Talk About It" held down the top spot).

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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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