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Song Stories

“Hold On”

Wilson Phillips | 1990

This harmonizing trio may have had strong musical genes on their side — two were the daughters of Brian Wilson, the third had John and Michelle Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas as her parents — but their family connections also provided their share of heartbreak. Chynna Phillips, who wrote this song about difficulties she faced growing up, told Rolling Stone she had a lot of anger because her father was never there for her. "But there comes a time in your life when it keeps coming up and you have to face it."

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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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