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Song Stories

“Mustang Sally”

Wilson Pickett | 1966

Soul journeyman Mack Rice wrote and recorded this song first in 1965. He originally titled it "Mustang Mama," until his friend Aretha Franklin took note of the "ride, Sally, ride" chorus. Rice recalled, "She said, 'Why don’t you change the song to "Mustang Sally"? 'Cause that’s what you’re sayin’ a lot of.'" It didn’t become a national treasure until Wilson Pickett put his spin on it one year later, but his version almost never saw the light of day, thanks to a last-minute studio mishap. Pickett had already finished recording the tune when the tape flew off the reel and broke into pieces. Undeterred, seasoned studio engineer Tom Dowd hand-taped the reel back together.

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Song Stories

“Vicious”

Lou Reed | 1972

Opening Lou Reed's 1972 solo album, the hard-riffing "Vicious" actually traces its origin back to Reed's days with the Velvet Underground. Picking up bits and pieces of songs from the people and places around him, and filing his notes for later use, Reed said it was Andy Warhol who provided fuel for the song. "He said, 'Why don't you write a song called 'Vicious,'" Reed told Rolling Stone in 1989. "And I said, 'What kind of vicious?' 'Oh, you know, vicious like I hit you with a flower.' And I wrote it down literally."

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