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Song Stories

“Last Nite”

The Strokes | 2001

“Last Nite” turned the New York garage rockers into one of the most talked-about indie bands of the Aughts, helped along by the fact that the opening riff was “borrowed” from Tom Petty. “People would say, ‘You know that song “American Girl” by Tom Petty?’” Lead Stroke Julian Casablancas said. “‘Don’t you think it sounds a little like that?’ And I’d be like, ‘Yeah, we ripped it off. Where you been?’” In a 2006 Rolling Stone interview, Petty said he found it funny they admitted to the pilfering. “It doesn’t bother me,” he said.

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Song Stories

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

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