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Song Stories

“I'm Your Puppet”

James & Bobby Purify | 1966

Dan Penn originally recorded and released this song, composed with his songwriting partner Spooner Oldham, as "The Puppet," and it tanked. When Oldham subsequently brought the Purify Brothers (who were actually cousins James Purify and Bobby Dickey) to FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, to cut some sides, they picked "The Puppet" out of the demo pile but mistakenly sang the refrain as "I'm your puppet." Penn initially dismissed the track as a Sam & Dave rip-off but agreed to release it as a single anyway. "When it came out and became a hit, I loved it," the writer and producer laughingly admitted. "It was easy to get on board later."

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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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