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Song Stories

“The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”

The Band | 1969

One of the of the songs most identified with the Band even though it was never a big hit for them (Joan Baez took it to Number Three two years later), “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” appeared on The Band and as the B side of the “Up on Cripple Creek” single. This ode to a South deeply scarred by the Civil War was written by Canadian Robbie Robertson when the group was living up in Woodstock, New York, although Arkansas native Levon Helm sings lead on it. “I remember taking [Robertson] to the library so he could research the history and geography,” Helm told Rolling Stone.

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Song Stories

“Vans”

The Pack | 2006

Berkeley, California rappers the Pack made their footwear choice clear in 2006 with the song "Vans." The track caught the attention of Too $hort, who signed them to his imprint. MTV refused to play the video for the song, though, claiming it was essentially a commercial for the product. Rapper Lil' B disagreed. "I didn’t know nobody [at] Vans," he said. "I was just a rapper who wore Vans." Even without MTV's support, Lil' B recognized the impact of the track. "God blessed me with such a revolutionary song… People around my age know who really started a lot of the dressing people are into now."

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