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Song Stories

“Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds”

The Beatles | 1967

It’s the quintessential Sixties acid song; the title’s words even spell out “L-S-D.” But John Lennon, who had always been candid about his use of mind-altering chemicals during the making of Sgt. Pepper, never relented from his claim that the song’s true and only inspiration was a picture his four-year-old son, Julian, painted of a classmate named Lucy O’Donnell. "I swear to God or swear to Mao or to anybody you like, I had no idea it spelled LSD," Lennon told Rolling Stone.

Find out what fellow British rock icon John Lennon singles out for praise in his final interview.
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Song Stories

“American Girl”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

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