Song Stories

“It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry”

Bob Dylan | 1965

"It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry" was the kind of piano-based blues you might have heard at a Western saloon, Bob Dylan affably observing the world from a mail train, apparently trailed by a girl. Originally titled "Phantom Engineer," it was recorded in both fast and slow versions, Dylan opting to go for the latter. One of the pianos on the released take was played by Al Kooper, who stated in Don't Think Twice, It's All Right: Bob Dylan: The Early Years, "It's a wonderful mood – you can slice the mood on that song."

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Song Stories

“Money For Nothing”

Dire Straits | 1984

Mark Knopfler wrote this song with Sting, and it wasn’t without controversy. The Dire Straits frontman's original lyric used the word “faggot” to describe a singer who got their “money for nothing and their chicks for free.” Even though the slur was edited out in many versions, the band, and Knopfler, still took plenty of criticism for the term. “I got an objection from the editor of a gay newspaper in London--he actually said it was below the belt,” Knopfler told Rolling Stone. Still, "Money For Nothing," undoubtedly augmented by its innovative early computer-animated video, stayed at Number One for three weeks.

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