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Song Stories

“Marquee Moon”

Television | 1977

That Television knocked out this 10-minute punk masterpiece in a single take underscores the raw, warts-and-all New York 1970s underground aesthetic. In many ways, "Marquee Moon" was the anti-song: It ran long, it lacked a chorus, it defied melody and, perhaps most telling, it never charted. Yet Television captured a beauty, its anarchic structure built on Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd's dueling electric-guitar jangle. It was disciplined disorder, and drummer Billy Ficca assumed the band was only rehearsing. When producer Andy Johns suggested another take, Verlaine refused. "I said, 'Forget it,'" he told Rolling Stone.

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Song Stories

“Road to Nowhere”

Talking Heads | 1985

A cappella harmonies give way to an a fuller arrangement blending pop and electro-disco on "Road to Nowhere," but the theme remains constant: We're on an eternal journey to an undefined destination. The song vaulted back into the news a quarter century after it was a hit when Gov. Charlie Crist used it in his unsuccessful 2010 campaign for the U.S. Senate in Florida. "It's this little ditty about how there's no order and no plan and no scheme to life and death and it doesn't mean anything, but it's all right," Byrne said with a chuckle.

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