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Song Stories

“Military Madness”

Graham Nash | 1971

Though on the surface a jaunty early-1970s singer-songwriter outing, "Military Madness" portrays the devastation that war wreaked on Graham Nash's family and native country of England. The song is based on autobiographical experience that is "totally true," Nash said. "I was born in this upstairs room in a kind of hotel that had been turned into a hospital in an evacuation area....My father was in the army, while my mother was having me--February 2, 1942, in the midst of World War II." Lead guitar on the track is supplied by fellow rock star Dave Mason.

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Song Stories

“San Francisco Mabel Joy”

Mickey Newbury | 1969

A country-folk song of epic proportions, "San Francisco Mabel Joy" tells the tale of a poor Georgia farmboy who wound up in prison after a move to the Bay Area found love turning into tragedy. First released by Mickey Newbury in 1969, it might be more familiar through covers by Waylon Jennings, Joan Baez and Kenny Rogers. "It was a five-minute song written in a two-minute world," Newbury said. "I was told it would never be cut by any artist ... I was told you could not use the term 'redneck' in a song and get it recorded."

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