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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

“Vicious”

Lou Reed | 1972

Opening Lou Reed's 1972 solo album, the hard-riffing "Vicious" actually traces its origin back to Reed's days with the Velvet Underground. Picking up bits and pieces of songs from the people and places around him, and filing his notes for later use, Reed said it was Andy Warhol who provided fuel for the song. "He said, 'Why don't you write a song called 'Vicious,'" Reed told Rolling Stone in 1989. "And I said, 'What kind of vicious?' 'Oh, you know, vicious like I hit you with a flower.' And I wrote it down literally."

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