Song Stories

“Trouble Every Day”

Mothers of Invention | 1966

A grim, downwardly spiraling blues-guitar riff sets the edgy mood for "Trouble Every Day," the Mothers of Invention describing watching street riots on television with a reporter's eye for detail. Frank Zappa wrote it while actually watching the 1965 Watts riots in Los Angeles on TV. Zappa later said it "qualified as some form of journalism, because a lot of people don't even remember what the Watts Riot was, and so, at the point where you make the song, the Watts Riot was a recent journalistic event....but over a period of years....it just becomes folklore."

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Song Stories

“Long Walk Home”

Bruce Springsteen | 2007

When the subject of this mournful song returns home, he hardly recognizes his town. Springsteen told Rolling Stone the alienation the man feels is a metaphor for life in a politically altered post-9/11 America. “Who would have ever thought we’d live in a country without habeas corpus?” he said. “That’s Orwellian. That’s what political hysteria is about and how effective it is. I felt it in myself. You get frightened for your family, for your home. And you realize how countries can move way off course, very far from democratic ideals.”

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