Song Stories


Link Wray | 1958

Famously raw-sounding (after the guitarist punched holes in his amplifier cones) and banned by many radio stations despite the fact that the song had no lyrics, Link Wray’s “Rumble” took its name from Phil Everly’s suggestion that it sounded like a street fight. “It was mean,” Wray once said. “They banned ‘Rumble’ in New York City and Boston, but it just made it sell more.” Jimmy Page and Pete Townshend are just two of the many guitar players who have cited the menacing instrumental as a critical inspiration.

Song Stories Main Next

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."

More Song Stories entries »