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Song Stories

“I Shall Be Released”

Bob Dylan | 1971

According to Allen Ginsberg, at the time when Dylan first cut this song during the 1967 Basement Tapes sessions with the Band, he was experimenting with “writing shorter lines, with every line meaning something.” The Band’s own version of this tale of a prisoner yearning for freedom actually came out first, on 1968’s Music From Big Pink. David Crosby said that during his nine-month imprisonment in the Eighties, he comforted himself by singing the song’s chorus. “I wrote it on the wall,” he told Rolling Stone. “It took me hours. But I did it. And I remember taking heart from it.”

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Song Stories

“Love Is the Answer”

Utopia | 1977

The message of the Beatles' "All You Need Is Love" proved to be a universal and long-lasting one, which Utopia revisited 10 years later on this ballad. "From a lyrical standpoint, it's part of a whole class of songs that I write, which are about filial love," Todd Rundgren explained. "I'm not a Christian, but it's called Christian love, the love that people are supposed to naturally feel because we are all of the same species. That may be mythical, but it's still a subject." Though "Love Is the Answer" wasn't a hit, a cover version two years later by England Dan & John Ford Coley peaked at Number Ten on the Billboard singles chart.

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