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Song Stories

“Loser”

Beck | 1993

In 1992, 22-year-old Beck Hansen was scraping by as a video-store clerk while performing “anti-folk” songs at L.A. coffeehouses. During that year, he cut “Loser” in the kitchen of onetime Geto Boys producer Karl Stephenson. The song became the centerpiece of his major-label debut album, 1994's Mellow Gold, which cost $200 to make. But the downside of creating the quintessential slacker anthem is that people assumed Beck was actually a loser himself. "It didn't seem like people understood what I was doing," Beck told Rolling Stone. "It was like, 'Is this guy for real? Is he making music that's worthy or valuable?' I felt like I was constantly having to prove myself."

Find out the connection between Beck’s grandfather and Yoko Ono.
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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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