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From the KORD writers:

Glen Campbell and Jimmy Webb reconnect for a classic

“Wichita Lineman” is an American masterpiece — a timeless portrait of prairie-gothic isolation and desperation. Recorded in May 1968 by country-pop crossover sensation Glen Campbell, songwriter Jimmy Webb’s ballad of everyman angst spins blue-collar pathos into a haunting meditation on existential desire, culminating in one of most profound expressions of love and longing in the annals of popular music.

1967: Singer Glen Campbell poses for a portrait playing a Martin acoustic guitar in 1967. (Photo by (Photo by Donaldson Collection/Getty Images)
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The pure, unfiltered rock’n’roll of ‘We’re an American Band’

“We’re an American Band” is rock’n’roll in its purest, uncut form. Big, loud and unapologetically primal, with the style and sophistication of a club-wielding caveman bludgeoning a sabertooth tiger, Grand Funk Railroad’s first number one single is an unabashed love letter to rock music as both lifestyle and lifeforce, a lurid yet lucid celebration of stardom in all its bacchanalian glory.

Grand Funk (Railroad) 1973 Craig Frost, Mark Farner, Mel Schacher and Don Brewer (Photo by Chris Walter/WireImage)
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The timeless beauty of ‘Just My Imagination’

Between 1966 and 1974, the Temptations and Motown Records staff producer Norman Whitfield teamed for a series of ambitious, audacious singles that forever redefined the shape and scope of the fabled Motown Sound. But in the midst of classics like “Cloud Nine,” “Ball of Confusion (That’s What the World Is Today)” and “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” — tough-minded, socially conscious records informed by acid rock and funk, a signature sound retroactively dubbed “psychedelic soul” — Whitfield cannily steered the Temptations back to the group’s bread and butter: the lush romantic ballad.

CIRCA 1970: Photo of Temptations Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
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‘American Pie’ at 50: Making sense of a boomer ballad

American Pie” is the baby-boom generation’s elegy of choice for the Sixties, a requiem mass for a decade which for Don McLean, the song’s writer and singer, ended much sooner than you might think, coming to a screeching halt sometime around the Summer of Love — just eight years after the tragedy McLean famously proclaimed “The Day the Music Died.” Viewed half a century out from its introduction into the cultural consciousness, it sure seems like a strange choice for a generational anthem — a self-consciously mythopoetic campfire ballad surveying the changes wrought by the counterculture, and embracing a very different path forward. Perhaps “American Pie” has been poked and prodded so often, and by so many, that over time virtually all of its meaning has been lost. Or maybe it just never had much meaning to begin with.

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Here’s the story… of a TV cult classic: ‘It’s a Sunshine Day’

Close your eyes, and you can picture them with startling clarity: six impossibly wholesome American teens (three boys and three girls, the latter with hair of gold like their mother, the youngest one in curls) dancing on the checkerboard stage of a televised talent showcase,  lip-synching the corniest, campiest pop song imaginable — a song so indelibly seared into your memory, you couldn’t dislodge it even if you wanted to.

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How Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘Free Bird’ earned its wings

“Free Bird” is the sacred text of Southern rock, and like all sacred texts, it is the object of both devotion and derision. Lynyrd Skynyrd’s elegiac magnum opus is so deeply burned into the collective musical consciousness, so inescapable across decades of nonstop radio airplay, that it’s all but impossible to separate the song from the passions it inspires. Because everyone knows “Free Bird,” everyone has an opinion about “Free Bird” — which is its blessing and its curse. You either love it or hate it; indifference is not an option.

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