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Song Stories

“Mellow Yellow”

Donovan | 1966

With an arrangement more suited to a woozy Salvation Army band than a rock group, the giddily psychedelic non sequiturs of "Mellow Yellow" wormed their way just shy of the Numner One spot. Backup vocals were contributed by Paul McCartney, who had used a phrase by Donovan in "Yellow Submarine." The "electrical banana" in "Mellow Yellow" was a vibrator, but it fueled rumors that you could get high by smoking the peel of that fruit. Country Joe McDonald revealed himself to Donovan as the source of that urban legend many years later, telling the singer, "By the way, man -- the 'mellow yellow' s---? The bananas? It was me."

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Song Stories

“Hungry Like the Wolf”

Duran Duran | 1982

This indulgent New Romantic group generated their first U.S. hit with the help of what was at the time new technology. "Simon [Le Bon] and I, I think, had been out the night before and had this terrible hangover," said keyboardist Nick Rhodes. "For some reason we were feeling guilty about it and decided to go and do some work." Rhodes started playing with his Jupiter-8 synth, and then "Simon had an idea for a lyric, and by lunchtime when everyone else turned up, we pretty much had the song." The Simmons drumbeat was equally important to the sound of "Hungry Like the Wolf," as Duran Duran drummer Roger Taylor stated it "kind of defined the drum sound for the Eighties."

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