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Song Stories

“Saturday in the Park”

Chicago | 1972

New York City's Central Park on a bright summer day can be a magical place. And on "Saturday in the Park," Chicago singer-keyboardist-songwriter Robert Lamm preserved this sentiment in song. "I was rooming with him, and we were in Manhattan on the Fourth of July," saxophonist Walter Parazaider recalled. "Robert came back to the hotel from Central Park very excited after seeing the steel drum players, singers, dancers and jugglers. I said, 'Man, it's time to put music to this!'"

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Song Stories

“American Girl”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

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