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Song Stories

“Great Balls of Fire”

Jerry Lee Lewis | 1957

Despite the fact that "Great Balls of Fire" is now considered one of rock 'n' roll's early landmark tunes, Jerry Lee Lewis was spooked by the song when it came time to record it. "At one of these sessions, everyone in the studio got to drinking," Lewis biographer Nick Tosches explained. "Jerry Lee became filled with the Holy Ghost, and he decided that the song 'Great Balls of Fire' was of the devil and that to sing it was to sin." Eventually, Lewis reconsidered, and sung the tune, written by Otis Blackwell and Jack Hammer -- with Blackwell also enjoying success penning hits for Elvis Presley ("Don't Be Cruel," "All Shook Up" and "Return to Sender").

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Song Stories

“Long Walk Home”

Bruce Springsteen | 2007

When the subject of this mournful song returns home, he hardly recognizes his town. Springsteen told Rolling Stone the alienation the man feels is a metaphor for life in a politically altered post-9/11 America. “Who would have ever thought we’d live in a country without habeas corpus?” he said. “That’s Orwellian. That’s what political hysteria is about and how effective it is. I felt it in myself. You get frightened for your family, for your home. And you realize how countries can move way off course, very far from democratic ideals.”

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