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Song Stories

“Planet Rock”

Afrika Bambaataa and the Soulsonic Force | 1982

One of the more unlikely pop-song fusions to ever to hit the charts, “Planet Rock” brings the Bronx-based hip-hop of Afrika Bambaataa and his funky crew together with the futuristic synthesizer sounds of Kraftwerk. A DJ who often spun the German electronic band during his sets, Bambaataa asked keyboardist John Robie if he could play like Kraftwerk. Robie said, “I’ll tear that s--- up.” Jazz pianist Jason Moran recorded a version of this song in 2002 and often performs it live.

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Song Stories

“Long Walk Home”

Bruce Springsteen | 2007

When the subject of this mournful song returns home, he hardly recognizes his town. Springsteen told Rolling Stone the alienation the man feels is a metaphor for life in a politically altered post-9/11 America. “Who would have ever thought we’d live in a country without habeas corpus?” he said. “That’s Orwellian. That’s what political hysteria is about and how effective it is. I felt it in myself. You get frightened for your family, for your home. And you realize how countries can move way off course, very far from democratic ideals.”

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