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Song Stories

“Keep On Pushing”

The Impressions | 1964

Inspirational to both Bob Marley, who heard it in Jamaica, and Bob Dylan, who included the album from which it sprang on the cover of his own Bringing It All Back Home, Curtis Mayfield drew his own inspiration for his civil-rights-era soul song from church music. "All I needed to do was change 'God gave me strength...' to 'I’ve got my strength.' Nothing else needed to be changed," he said. At the 2004 Democratic National Convention, Mayfield's song was the walk-on music for the speech by then-Sen. Barack Obama, who brought the theme of change full circle with his presidential victory in 2008.

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Song Stories

“Vicious”

Lou Reed | 1972

Opening Lou Reed's 1972 solo album, the hard-riffing "Vicious" actually traces its origin back to Reed's days with the Velvet Underground. Picking up bits and pieces of songs from the people and places around him, and filing his notes for later use, Reed said it was Andy Warhol who provided fuel for the song. "He said, 'Why don't you write a song called 'Vicious,'" Reed told Rolling Stone in 1989. "And I said, 'What kind of vicious?' 'Oh, you know, vicious like I hit you with a flower.' And I wrote it down literally."

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