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Song Stories

“Street Fighting Man”

The Rolling Stones | 1968

Mick Jagger's reaction to watching police tangling with anti-war protesters outside the U.S. Embassy in London helped form the lyrics to the Rolling Stones' edgy rocker "Street Fighting Man," a song that had actually first taken shape with different lyrics and titled as "Did Everyone Pay Their Dues?" In a 1995 Rolling Stone interview, Jagger also cited riots in France and the U.S. as inspiration. "I thought it was a very good thing at the time," he observed. "There was all this violence going on. I mean, they almost toppled the government in France."

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Song Stories

“San Francisco Mabel Joy”

Mickey Newbury | 1969

A country-folk song of epic proportions, "San Francisco Mabel Joy" tells the tale of a poor Georgia farmboy who wound up in prison after a move to the Bay Area found love turning into tragedy. First released by Mickey Newbury in 1969, it might be more familiar through covers by Waylon Jennings, Joan Baez and Kenny Rogers. "It was a five-minute song written in a two-minute world," Newbury said. "I was told it would never be cut by any artist ... I was told you could not use the term 'redneck' in a song and get it recorded."

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