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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

“Road to Nowhere”

Talking Heads | 1985

A cappella harmonies give way to an a fuller arrangement blending pop and electro-disco on "Road to Nowhere," but the theme remains constant: We're on an eternal journey to an undefined destination. The song vaulted back into the news a quarter century after it was a hit when Gov. Charlie Crist used it in his unsuccessful 2010 campaign for the U.S. Senate in Florida. "It's this little ditty about how there's no order and no plan and no scheme to life and death and it doesn't mean anything, but it's all right," Byrne said with a chuckle.

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