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Song Stories

“Sabotage”

Beastie Boys | 1994

By the time the Beastie Boys released Ill Communication, their transformation from frat-boy rappers to surprisingly adept funk-rock instrumentalists was complete. But what about fuzz rock? "[Adam] Yauch came in one day with this idea for a song," explained Adam Horovitz, "where the fuzz bass keeps playing, and we would all do these hits and stops to bring, like, suspense and drama." Not only did the song create that suspense and drama but so did its Spike Jonze-directed Seventies-cop-TV-spoof video, complete with car chases, wigs and drooping 'staches.

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Song Stories

“Madame George”

Van Morrison | 1968

One of the first stream-of-consciousness epics to make it onto a Van Morrison record, his drawn-out farewell to the eccentric "Madame George" lasted nearly 10 minutes, combining ingredients from folk, jazz and classical music. The character that gave the song its title provoked speculation that it was about a drag queen, though Morrison denied this in Rolling Stone. "If you see it as a male or a female or whatever, it's your trip," he remarked. "I see it as a ... a Swiss cheese sandwich. Something like that."

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