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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

“Bizness”

Tune-Yards | 2011

The opening track to Merrill Garbus’ second album under the Tune-Yards banner (she also plays in the trio Sister Suvi), “Bizness” is a song about relationships that is as colorful as the face paint favored by Garbus both live and in her videos. Disjointed funk bass, skittering African beats, diced-and-sliced horns and Garbus’ dynamic voice, which ranges from playful coos to throat-shredding howls, make “Bizness” reminiscent of another creative medium. “I'd like for them not to be songs as much as quilts or collages or something,” Garbus said.

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