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Song Stories

“Running on Empty”

Jackson Browne | 1977

Sometimes the best lyrical metaphors arise from literal events, such as in the case of this title track to Jackson Browne’s breakout album. The singer-songwriter was inspired by the reading on his car's fuel gauge while motoring to the studio each day to make his previous album, The Pretender. “I was always driving around with no gas in the car,” he said. “I just never bothered to fill up the tank because – how far was it anyway? Just a few blocks.”

Find out about flying panties inspired a young Jackson Browne to become a musician.
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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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