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Song Stories

“One (Blake's Got a New Face)”

Vampire Weekend | 2008

Whenever a song is named after a person, listeners and critics alike want to know if it was based on somebody specific. Who was this supposed Blake with a brand new face? “Well, I had the melody long before the lyrics,” Ezra Koenig, Vampire Weekend’s lead singer, explained. “And we had all sorts of stupid stuff that we were considering. And then I met this friend of my girlfriend’s named Blake, someone she went to high school with, and it kind of just popped into my head after meeting him. So there is an actual person named Blake.”

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Song Stories

“American Girl”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

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