Song Stories

“Holy Wars...The Punishment Due”

Megadeth | 1990

Although not often considered a "prog metal band," Megadeth has penned some very complex compositions over the years - tops being "Holy Wars...The Punishment Due." And the song's lyrics were inspired by a true story - Dave Mustaine misunderstood the background of two factions feuding in Ireland over religion, and made a comment on stage that sounded like he sided with one of them. As Mustaine recalled to Guitar World, "The audience split into two halves, with the Catholics on one side and the Protestants on the other, and it gets ugly. We had to be escorted out of town in a bulletproof bus." In the song's accompanying video, all four Megadeth members perform "Holy Wars...The Punishment Due" completely shirtless.

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Song Stories

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

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