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Song Stories

“Uncle John's Band”

The Grateful Dead | 1970

Spotlighting close vocal harmonies that recall those of the Grateful Dead's friends Crosby, Stills & Nash, the easygoing country-folk-rock "Uncle John's Band" nonetheless had a wariness suggesting oncoming danger, the enigmatic Uncle John supplying the soundtrack for taking children home. The track was edited to a shorter version in hopes of getting a hit single, but it stalled at Number 69. Garcia was dissatisfied with the edit but proud of the song itself, calling it "a major effort, as a musical piece" in Rolling Stone. "It's one we worked on for a really long time, to get it working right."

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Song Stories

“Vans”

The Pack | 2006

Berkeley, California rappers the Pack made their footwear choice clear in 2006 with the song "Vans." The track caught the attention of Too $hort, who signed them to his imprint. MTV refused to play the video for the song, though, claiming it was essentially a commercial for the product. Rapper Lil' B disagreed. "I didn’t know nobody [at] Vans," he said. "I was just a rapper who wore Vans." Even without MTV's support, Lil' B recognized the impact of the track. "God blessed me with such a revolutionary song… People around my age know who really started a lot of the dressing people are into now."

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