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Song Stories

“(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction”

The Rolling Stones | 1965

"Satisfaction" begins its musical and lyrical assault on the senses with what can be called, with little argument, the most iconic guitar riff of 1960s rock. What's most remarkable is that Keith Richards literally wrote that intro in his sleep. "I woke up in the middle of the night. There was a cassette recorder next to the bed and an acoustic guitar," he told Rolling Stone about putting his slumber-derived inspiration down on tape. "The next morning when I woke up, the tape had gone all the way to the end. So I ran it back, and there's like 30 seonds of this riff -- 'Da-da da-da-da, I can't get no satisfaction' -- and the rest of the tape is me snoring!"

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Song Stories

“American Girl”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

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