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Song Stories

“Pork and Beans”

Weezer | 2008

Lead singer Rivers Cuomo wrote this tune as an emotional reaction to a meeting with Weezer’s record label, Geffen, when they were asked to release more commercial-sounding tunes. "I came out of it pretty angry," Cuomo admitted to Rolling Stone. "But ironically, it inspired me to write another song." In a strange twist of fate, the song that was intended to be a defiant response to the record label's request ended up being one of the band's biggest hits, landing at the top of the charts.

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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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