Song Stories

“Rough Boys”

Pete Townshend | 1980

Although the emergence of punk rock didn't seem to affect the Who's musical direction (1978's Who Are You? was full of synthesizers and strings), Pete Townshend did replicate the spirit of punk lyrically and musically on his 1980 solo tune, "Rough Boys." In fact, Towshend dedicated the song to the Sex Pistols (in addition to his two children) on the sleeve cover to his album, Empty Glass. "You have Pete's sexual ambiguity going on here - it sounds like a gay song," Who fanatic Alice Cooper told Rolling Stone. "I still don't know exactly what he was trying to say with that song, but I love it, whatever it is. Pete's an amazing mystery."

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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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