Song Stories

“Monkey Gone to Heaven”

Pixies | 1989

Don't look for too much hidden meaning in the expression "Monkey Gone to Heaven," because according to the song's scribe, Black Francis (a.k.a. Frank Black), "The phrase 'monkey gone to heaven' just sounds neat." Despite his breeziness, the song -- as well as the album -- has heavy overtones, including references to God and environmentalism, subjects not normally referenced in rock songs. Why the heady allusions? As the Pixies fromtman said, "It wasn't like we thought we'd get played on the radio."

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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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