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Song Stories

“If I Die Young”

The Band Perry | 2010

This country-pop sibling trio made its debut with an uncommonly sad single. "We wanted to write a song about making the most of whatever time you're given — whether it's two years, 20 years or 200," eldest sister and singer Kimberly Perry said. But the song is more an elegy than it is a pep talk, with lyrics that confront death to an almost uncomfortable extreme. On it, Kimberly sings of a life that never knew love, lamenting, "Who would have thought forever could be severed/By the sharp knife of a short life" and "what I never did is done."

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Song Stories

“San Francisco Mabel Joy”

Mickey Newbury | 1969

A country-folk song of epic proportions, "San Francisco Mabel Joy" tells the tale of a poor Georgia farmboy who wound up in prison after a move to the Bay Area found love turning into tragedy. First released by Mickey Newbury in 1969, it might be more familiar through covers by Waylon Jennings, Joan Baez and Kenny Rogers. "It was a five-minute song written in a two-minute world," Newbury said. "I was told it would never be cut by any artist ... I was told you could not use the term 'redneck' in a song and get it recorded."

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