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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

“Santa Monica”

Everclear | 1996

After his brother and girlfriend both died of drug overdoses, Art Alexakis -- depressed and hooked on drugs himself -- jumped off the Santa Monica Pier in California, determined to die. "It was really stupid," said the Everclear frontman, who would further explore his personal emotional journey in the song "Father of Mine." "I went under the water. Then I said, 'I don't wanna die.'" The song, declaring "Let's swim out past the breakers/and watch the world die," was intended as a manifesto for change, Alexakis said. "Let the world do what it's gonna do and just live on our own."

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