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Song Stories

“Is It True”

Brenda Lee | 1964

As the British Invasion reached its peak in 1964, Brenda Lee went from Nashville to London to record one of her hardest-rocking hits, her perky vocal backed by a stuttering, squalling guitar. That guitar was played by session musician Jimmy Page, yet to skyrocket to fame with first the Yardbirds and then Led Zeppelin. "She said to me, 'I've come here to make a record with the British sound,'" remembered producer Mickie Most. "She felt she wouldn't get the same sound in Nashville because they're only just catching up on the British beat group sound of about six months ago."

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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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