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Song Stories

“Tutti-Frutti”

Little Richard | 1955

“I wrote ‘Tutti Frutti’ in the kitchen,” said Little Richard of the bus station in his native Macon, Georgia,where he worked as a dishwasher. One day, the dishes piled up so high he thought he’d never get out of there alive for all the pots and pans; that’s when frustration rubbed up against gospel inspiration and out popped, “Womp-bomp-a-loo-momp a-lop-bomp-bomp.” It was the sound of what he was going to happen if he had to wash one more pan.

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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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