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Song Stories

“Shaky Town”

Jackson Browne | 1977

Running on Empty was a different sort of live album: Although all the tracks were laid down on tour, not all of them were recorded on concert stages. This song, written by touring guitarist Danny Kortchmar, was cut in a motel room -- specifically, Room 124 of the Holiday Inn in Edwardsville, Illinois. "We were just trying to get away with it," Browne admitted. "We knew we could do it with the violin and acoustic guitar, but we also put the drums in the room, and Danny and I actually sang in the shower. I just love the way that sounds."

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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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