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Song Stories

“Star Spangled Banner”

Jimi Hendrix | 1969

The U.S. national anthem is familiar to most people as a patriotic tune played by military bands, or sung reverently in an operatic style. At Woodstock, Jimi Hendrix reinvented it from top to bottom as a showcase for what could be done with extreme, high-volume electric guitar distortion, his riffs often interpreted as mimicking weapons explosions and bombs dropping from the sky. Asked by Dick Cavett on national television shortly after the festival about whether the version was blasphemous, Hendrix simply stated, "I thought it was beautiful."

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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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