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Song Stories

“The Long and Winding Road”

The Beatles | 1970

Appearing on the Beatles’ valedictory Let It Be album, “The Long and Winding Road” can be taken as Paul McCartney’s graceful wave goodbye or, perhaps, as a requiem for the death of the band: “You left me standing here a long, long time ago.” Recorded in the days following their final performance, on the Apple Records rooftop in 1969 -- Ringo Starr was on hiatus; John Lennon have given his notice -- the lyrical acrimony became some kind of self-fulfilling prophecy when producer Phil Spector remixed it, adding strings and a choir, much to McCartney’s dismay. “It’s a sad song because it’s all about the unattainable,” McCartney said. “I was a bit flipped out and tripped out at the time.”

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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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