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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

“Road to Nowhere”

Talking Heads | 1985

A cappella harmonies give way to an a fuller arrangement blending pop and electro-disco on "Road to Nowhere," but the theme remains constant: We're on an eternal journey to an undefined destination. The song vaulted back into the news a quarter century after it was a hit when Gov. Charlie Crist used it in his unsuccessful 2010 campaign for the U.S. Senate in Florida. "It's this little ditty about how there's no order and no plan and no scheme to life and death and it doesn't mean anything, but it's all right," Byrne said with a chuckle.

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