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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

“Love Is the Answer”

Utopia | 1977

The message of the Beatles' "All You Need Is Love" proved to be a universal and long-lasting one, which Utopia revisited 10 years later on this ballad. "From a lyrical standpoint, it's part of a whole class of songs that I write, which are about filial love," Todd Rundgren explained. "I'm not a Christian, but it's called Christian love, the love that people are supposed to naturally feel because we are all of the same species. That may be mythical, but it's still a subject." Though "Love Is the Answer" wasn't a hit, a cover version two years later by England Dan & John Ford Coley peaked at Number Ten on the Billboard singles chart.

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