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Song Stories

“World Without Love”

Peter and Gordon | 1964

Contrary to its lyrics of utter despondency wishing to block out the world, "World Without Love" featured the melodic, upbeat harmony pop-rock typical of the British Invasion, though an organ took the solo instead of a guitar. This was the most popular song written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney not to have been recorded by the Beatles, topping the U.S. singles chart in 1964. "The funny first line always used to please John," joked McCartney. "'Please lock me away ...' 'Yes, okay.' End of song."

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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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