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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

“Long Walk Home”

Bruce Springsteen | 2007

When the subject of this mournful song returns home, he hardly recognizes his town. Springsteen told Rolling Stone the alienation the man feels is a metaphor for life in a politically altered post-9/11 America. “Who would have ever thought we’d live in a country without habeas corpus?” he said. “That’s Orwellian. That’s what political hysteria is about and how effective it is. I felt it in myself. You get frightened for your family, for your home. And you realize how countries can move way off course, very far from democratic ideals.”

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