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Song Stories

“O-o-h Child”

The Five Stairsteps | 1970

A family act from Chicago’s South Side who were signed to Curtis Mayfield’s Windy C label, the Burkes started as four brothers and a sister ranging in age from 13 through 17 and helped inspire the formation of another Midwestern family group — the Jackson 5. Soaring on inspirational tones and the promise of a brighter day under the sun, “O-o-h Child” would be the Five Stairsteps' only Top 10 hit. Al Kooper has called it “one of [his] favorite singles.” More than 20 years after its original recording, “Ooh Child” was used memorably in Spike Lee’s film Crooklyn as well as in John Singleton’s Boyz N the Hood. Tupac’s “Keep Ya Head Up” incorporated the melody into its mix.

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Song Stories

“Road to Nowhere”

Talking Heads | 1985

A cappella harmonies give way to an a fuller arrangement blending pop and electro-disco on "Road to Nowhere," but the theme remains constant: We're on an eternal journey to an undefined destination. The song vaulted back into the news a quarter century after it was a hit when Gov. Charlie Crist used it in his unsuccessful 2010 campaign for the U.S. Senate in Florida. "It's this little ditty about how there's no order and no plan and no scheme to life and death and it doesn't mean anything, but it's all right," Byrne said with a chuckle.

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