Song Stories

“So You Want to Be a Rock 'n' Roll Star”

The Byrds | 1967

A memorably quizzical electric twelve-string guitar riff and trumpet by jazz star Hugh Masekela fueled the Byrds' cynical take on instant manufactured teen idoldom on "So You Want to Be a Rock'n'Roll Star." Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman wrote the song after leafing through a teen magazine and wondering at the sheer numbers of unfamiliar faces featured. "It wasn't really a bitter thing as much as just a chuckle at the business," stated Hillman in Johnny Rogan's Byrds biography. "I still maintain it was against the Monkees. I just thought the Monkees were the epitome of bad, of hideousness."

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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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