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Song Stories

“Hickory Wind”

The Byrds | 1968

Roger McGuinn, who added Gram Parsons to the Byrds lineup for Sweetheart of the Rodeo, considered this haunting evocation of a Southern childhood -- written by Parsons during a cross-country train trip from Florida to L.A. -- to be his best song. Byrds and Flying Burrito Brothers mainstay Chris Hillman concurred: "If Gram had never written another song, 'Hickory Wind' would've put him on the map. If you know the guy's life story, however he conjured up that scenario, it's right at home. Gram was shuffled off to prep school, lots of money ... that's a lonely song. He was a lonely kid."

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Song Stories

“Vans”

The Pack | 2006

Berkeley, California rappers the Pack made their footwear choice clear in 2006 with the song "Vans." The track caught the attention of Too $hort, who signed them to his imprint. MTV refused to play the video for the song, though, claiming it was essentially a commercial for the product. Rapper Lil' B disagreed. "I didn’t know nobody [at] Vans," he said. "I was just a rapper who wore Vans." Even without MTV's support, Lil' B recognized the impact of the track. "God blessed me with such a revolutionary song… People around my age know who really started a lot of the dressing people are into now."

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