Song Stories

“Masters of War”

Bob Dylan | 1963

Bob Dylan's "Masters of War" seemed to open the floodgates for a host of rock acts over the years to pen their own anti-war songs (Creedence Clearwater's "Fortunate Son," Black Sabbath's "War Pigs," John Lennon/Yoko Ono's "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)," etc.). And in the book Down the Highway: The Life of Bob Dylan, author Howard Sounes explains that the song "Was inspired by the Cold War arms buildup. Yet like many of Bob's best songs, 'Masters of War' transcended the time in which it was written." At the 1992 'Tribute to Dylan' concert at Madison Square Garden, Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder and Mike McCready performed a version of the tune.

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Song Stories


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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