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Song Stories

“Under the Boardwalk”

The Drifters | 1964

The lilting summer soul song paints a familiar seaside scene (a carousel, hot dogs, French fries) and describes a couple "havin' some fun under the boardwalk," unbeknownst to the "people walking above." The song -- written by Kenny Young and Art Resnick -- was supposed to be sung by the group's Rudy Lewis, but the night before the session he died of a heroin overdose. Former lead vocalist Johnny Moore returned to the Drifters to cut the song, and it went to Number Four on the Billboard chart. "Very flattering to suggest 'UTB' was as well known as 'Happy Birthday,'" Young said of the song's immense popularity.

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Song Stories

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

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