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Song Stories

“Rebel Rebel”

David Bowie | 1974

A hypnotic buzzing circular guitar riff is the inescapable hook of "Rebel Rebel," whose protagonist's flirtation with glam rock androgyny mirrored David Bowie's own persona in the early-to-mid-'70s. It's been speculated that transsexual rock singer Wayne (aka Jane) County, whose song "Queenage Baby" also includes a line wondering if someone's a boy or a girl, might have been an influence on the composition. "Rebel Rebel"'s lead guitar was played by Bowie himself, who later declared, "It's a fabulous riff! Just fabulous! When I stumbled onto it, it was 'Oh, thank you!'"

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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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