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Song Stories

“Thela Hun Ginjeet”

King Crimson | 1981

When you've almost been mugged, you may want to get in touch with the authorities. Not guitarist Adrian Belew, who instead returned to the studio to tell his King Crimson mates about a dangerous encounter, which is retold in "Thela Hun Ginjeet." "I walked down one of the streets, and there was illegal gambling going on," Belew recalled. "It was done by a group of Rastafarian guys -- pretty tough looking -- and [they’d] gathered around me. They thought I was an undercover policeman -- I had short hair at the time. They were about to kill me; I don’t know how I talked my way out of it. I ran into the control room, and was telling Robert [Fripp] the story. Meanwhile, he had whispered to the engineer to record it, and that’s what you hear on the record." The song's curious title is an anagram of "heat in the jungle."

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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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