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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

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

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