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Song Stories

“I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-to-Die Rag”

Country Joe & the Fish | 1967

Though it was set to a jolly Dixieland tune, "I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-to-Die Rag" was one of the more scathing anti-Vietnam war protest songs, its gallows humor poking serious fun at the conflict's tragicomedy. Heirs of Kid Ory claimed it plagiarized the New Orleans jazz trombonist's 1927 song "Muskrat Ramble," though courts ruled in composer Country Joe McDonald's favor. As for the infamous "Gimme an F!" four-letter-word cheer that launched the song in the Woodstock film, McDonald told Rolling Stone, "We just got tired of saying 'fish,' so we just changed it."

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Song Stories

“Road to Nowhere”

Talking Heads | 1985

A cappella harmonies give way to an a fuller arrangement blending pop and electro-disco on "Road to Nowhere," but the theme remains constant: We're on an eternal journey to an undefined destination. The song vaulted back into the news a quarter century after it was a hit when Gov. Charlie Crist used it in his unsuccessful 2010 campaign for the U.S. Senate in Florida. "It's this little ditty about how there's no order and no plan and no scheme to life and death and it doesn't mean anything, but it's all right," Byrne said with a chuckle.

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