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Song Stories

“Mr. Robato”

Styx | 1983

Supposedly, Dennis DeYoung always wanted Styx to go in a more "theatrical" direction. And after the success of the group's 1981 concept album, Paradise Theatre, DeYoung was granted full control of the group's next project - the rock opera KIlroy Was Here, which spawned one of the nuttiest hit singles of the Eighties, "Mr. Roboto." As DeYoung explained at the time of its release, "People know that 'Roboto' isn't the traditional Styx single, but we want to bridge the gap between the '70s and '80s. This comes very close to rock theater, and that's very exciting for us. I feel like we've earned a lot of credibility over the past few years. We don't want to squander it. We want to build on it." DeYoung's band mates disagreed - Styx split a year later.

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Song Stories

“Madame George”

Van Morrison | 1968

One of the first stream-of-consciousness epics to make it onto a Van Morrison record, his drawn-out farewell to the eccentric "Madame George" lasted nearly 10 minutes, combining ingredients from folk, jazz and classical music. The character that gave the song its title provoked speculation that it was about a drag queen, though Morrison denied this in Rolling Stone. "If you see it as a male or a female or whatever, it's your trip," he remarked. "I see it as a ... a Swiss cheese sandwich. Something like that."

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