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Song Stories

“Mr. Tambourine Man”

Bob Dylan | 1965

Who was "Mr. Tambourine Man"? Many of Bob Dylan's listeners assumed the song was about a drug experience, as the Tambourine Man puts the singer in a spell and takes him on a trip through an exotic, poetic landscape. But in 1985, Dylan insisted it was inspired by Bruce Langhorne, the folk musician who accompanied him on guitar during the recording of the song. "He had this gigantic tambourine," Dylan remembered. "It was as big as a wagon wheel. He was playing, and this vision of him playing this tambourine just stuck in my mind."

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Song Stories

“Santa Monica”

Everclear | 1996

After his brother and girlfriend both died of drug overdoses, Art Alexakis -- depressed and hooked on drugs himself -- jumped off the Santa Monica Pier in California, determined to die. "It was really stupid," said the Everclear frontman, who would further explore his personal emotional journey in the song "Father of Mine." "I went under the water. Then I said, 'I don't wanna die.'" The song, declaring "Let's swim out past the breakers/and watch the world die," was intended as a manifesto for change, Alexakis said. "Let the world do what it's gonna do and just live on our own."

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