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Song Stories

“I Desire”

Devo | 1982

Adapting poetry written by a near-assassinator of a U.S. president is not exactly a common songwriting practice. But that is exactly what Devo did on "I Desire," when they incorporated into the song several verses penned by John Hinckley Jr. -- notorious for stalking Jodie Foster and shooting Ronald Reagan in 1981. As Mark Mothersbaugh recalled, "[Hinckley] let us take a poem that he had written, and we used it for the lyrics and turned it into a love song. It was not the best career move you could make. We had the FBI calling up and threatening us."

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Song Stories

“Vicious”

Lou Reed | 1972

Opening Lou Reed's 1972 solo album, the hard-riffing "Vicious" actually traces its origin back to Reed's days with the Velvet Underground. Picking up bits and pieces of songs from the people and places around him, and filing his notes for later use, Reed said it was Andy Warhol who provided fuel for the song. "He said, 'Why don't you write a song called 'Vicious,'" Reed told Rolling Stone in 1989. "And I said, 'What kind of vicious?' 'Oh, you know, vicious like I hit you with a flower.' And I wrote it down literally."

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