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Song Stories

“Pay to Cum”

Bad Brains | 1982

While the Bad Brains were penning this rapidly paced hardcore classic, an unlikely critic showed the tune's songwriters — singer HR and guitarist Dr. Know — that they may have been on to something. "We were sitting down at my mother's dining room table, started playing it, and [my sister] started singing along with it," Dr. Know said. "She must have been like three or four years old. I'll never forget it [starts singing the riff]." In the Martin Scorsese-directed film After Hours, "Pay to Cum" is heard in a scene when Griffin Dunne's character narrowly escapes getting his hair shaven into a Mohawk.

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Song Stories

“San Francisco Mabel Joy”

Mickey Newbury | 1969

A country-folk song of epic proportions, "San Francisco Mabel Joy" tells the tale of a poor Georgia farmboy who wound up in prison after a move to the Bay Area found love turning into tragedy. First released by Mickey Newbury in 1969, it might be more familiar through covers by Waylon Jennings, Joan Baez and Kenny Rogers. "It was a five-minute song written in a two-minute world," Newbury said. "I was told it would never be cut by any artist ... I was told you could not use the term 'redneck' in a song and get it recorded."

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