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Song Stories

“Sister Ray”

The Velvet Underground | 1968

The highly improvisational "Sister Ray," which riffed on black leather, sunglasses, noise and more noise, was done in one take by the Velvet Underground, who agreed ahead of time that, good or bad, they would live with the results. While the recorded version was 17 minutes long, the band was known for stretching it to twice that length in a live setting. Andy Warhol didn't produce the song, but he did have input on "Sister Ray." According to Reed, "When we were making the second record, [Warhol] said, 'Now you gotta make sure that you do the 'sucking on my ding dong song.'"

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Song Stories

“Long Walk Home”

Bruce Springsteen | 2007

When the subject of this mournful song returns home, he hardly recognizes his town. Springsteen told Rolling Stone the alienation the man feels is a metaphor for life in a politically altered post-9/11 America. “Who would have ever thought we’d live in a country without habeas corpus?” he said. “That’s Orwellian. That’s what political hysteria is about and how effective it is. I felt it in myself. You get frightened for your family, for your home. And you realize how countries can move way off course, very far from democratic ideals.”

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