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Song Stories

“Rocket”

Def Leppard | 1987

The last single released from Def Leppard's mega-selling Hysteria - "Rocket" - paid tribute to all of the glam rock artists that influenced Leppard early on (David Bowie, Elton John, Queen, etc.). But it turns out that it was a tribal drum beat from an obscure composition by Mike Steiphenson that got "Rocket" off the ground. "I'd been to this sauna, and I'd met this girl who had a tape, of a band called 'Burundi Black,' and this was playing," Leppard singer Joe Elliott recalls. "And the rhythm of it just got me going, to the point that she'd be talking away, and I was like not even hearing a word. All I could hear was this [sings drum part]."

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Song Stories

“Santa Monica”

Everclear | 1996

After his brother and girlfriend both died of drug overdoses, Art Alexakis -- depressed and hooked on drugs himself -- jumped off the Santa Monica Pier in California, determined to die. "It was really stupid," said the Everclear frontman, who would further explore his personal emotional journey in the song "Father of Mine." "I went under the water. Then I said, 'I don't wanna die.'" The song, declaring "Let's swim out past the breakers/and watch the world die," was intended as a manifesto for change, Alexakis said. "Let the world do what it's gonna do and just live on our own."

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