Song Stories

“Rapper's Delight”

Sugarhill Gang | 1979

"I said, a hip-hop, a hippie, a hippie to the hip-hip-hop." And with that, rap hit American radio for the first time in 1979. The song that opened the floodgates from everyone from Public Enemy to Jay-Z featured, as Rolling Stone described it, "raps about bad food instead of boasting." However trite lines about bad fried chicken might seem, it can't diminish the impact of the song. Sugarhill member Wonder Mike said he believes the song was a success because of its innocence. "It wasn't too heavy," he said. "It wasn't the message that was years later. It wasn't bash the police, that was years after that. What I wanted to portray was three guys having fun."

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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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