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Song Stories

“Thirteen”

Big Star | 1972

Alex Chilton chose to write about the innocence of young love instead of pent-up frustration for this ballad, which he titled after the age of the protagonists. However, Chilton admitted he was not happy with how the song turned out. "I think the performance of it on the record is bad. Just the singing really is … it's the wrong sort of approach, but at that time I didn't really know how to make the voice sounds in the studio that I wanted to do; it was a year or two later when I figured that out." When Chilton was at the age of 13, he experienced a life-changing occurrence -- the Beatles' landmark appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show.

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Song Stories

“Madame George”

Van Morrison | 1968

One of the first stream-of-consciousness epics to make it onto a Van Morrison record, his drawn-out farewell to the eccentric "Madame George" lasted nearly 10 minutes, combining ingredients from folk, jazz and classical music. The character that gave the song its title provoked speculation that it was about a drag queen, though Morrison denied this in Rolling Stone. "If you see it as a male or a female or whatever, it's your trip," he remarked. "I see it as a ... a Swiss cheese sandwich. Something like that."

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