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Song Stories

“Lola”

The Kinks | 1970

The forceful opening guitar chords and rousing "Lo-lo-lo-lo Lola" chorus gave the Kinks a Top 10 hit, but even in 1970 listeners could figure out that the "Lola" who so transfixed singer-songwriter Ray Davies was a transvestite. A passing reference to Coca-Cola in the lyrics would have prohibited the song from gaining BBC airplay, forcing Davies to fly to London in the middle of a U.S. tour to rerecord the phrase in a new version as "cherry cola." "The song is actually meant to show that things aren't always what they seem," Davies owned up.

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Song Stories

“Santa Monica”

Everclear | 1996

After his brother and girlfriend both died of drug overdoses, Art Alexakis -- depressed and hooked on drugs himself -- jumped off the Santa Monica Pier in California, determined to die. "It was really stupid," said the Everclear frontman, who would further explore his personal emotional journey in the song "Father of Mine." "I went under the water. Then I said, 'I don't wanna die.'" The song, declaring "Let's swim out past the breakers/and watch the world die," was intended as a manifesto for change, Alexakis said. "Let the world do what it's gonna do and just live on our own."

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