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Song Stories

“Hunger Strike”

Temple of the Dog | 1991

When Eddie Vedder eavesdropped in on a Temple of the Dog rehearsal, he was taken by the tune "Hunger Strike," with its lyrics about a modern-day Robin Hood. But it was a unique vocal idea that Vedder had that was the song's missing ingredient. "I was sitting in the corner, putting duct tape on a little African drum," Vedder recalled. "About two-thirds of the way through, [Chris Cornell] was having to cut off the one line, and start the other. I'm not now, and certainly wasn't then, self-assured or cocky, but I could hear what he was trying to do, so I walked up to the mic -- which I'm really surprised I did -- and sang that other part, 'Going hungry, going hungry.'" Pearl Jam has performed the song onstage sporadically -- whenever Cornell guests.

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Song Stories

“Madame George”

Van Morrison | 1968

One of the first stream-of-consciousness epics to make it onto a Van Morrison record, his drawn-out farewell to the eccentric "Madame George" lasted nearly 10 minutes, combining ingredients from folk, jazz and classical music. The character that gave the song its title provoked speculation that it was about a drag queen, though Morrison denied this in Rolling Stone. "If you see it as a male or a female or whatever, it's your trip," he remarked. "I see it as a ... a Swiss cheese sandwich. Something like that."

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