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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

“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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