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Song Stories

“Seven and Seven Is”

Love | 1966

Driven by ominous fuzz chord riffs and nonstop drum rolls, Arthur Lee's surrealistic rant "Seven and Seven Is" was capped off by an atomic explosion, a brief country blues tag ending the song like dust settling over a demolished building. More than 30 takes were recorded, mainly because the song's drum part was so exhausting that Lee and Love drummer Snoopy Pfisterer had to take turns playing it. "It was about a lady named Anita," disclosed Lee. "She's born on the seventh, and I'm born on the seventh, and that's 'seven and seven is.'"

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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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