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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

“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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