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From the KORD writers:

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Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ rolls on

If Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird” is the sacred text of Southern rock, then its “Sweet Home Alabama” is the genre’s national anthem: the song that most compellingly articulates the pride in Southern culture implicit in classics such as the Allman Brothers Band’s “Midnight Rider,” the Marshall Tucker Band’s “Can’t You See” and “Free Bird” itself. 

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‘Love Machine’ yields the Miracles’ biggest hit (with or without Smokey Robinson)

Billy Griffin remembers what it was like at the peak of his music career, when he was an eligible bachelor dating Hollywood starlets. “I would get in my car… and I knew when the girl sat down, I could say ‘You wanna hear my record?’ and I would just turn on the radio. ‘Love Machine’ would come on. Every channel. That is a hit.”

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James Gang’s “Funk #49” numbers among the all-time AOR classics

James Gang’s “Funk #49” represents the platonic ideal of a classic rock song. The trio of Jim Fox, Dale Peters and a pre-Eagles Joe Walsh turned what was originally a spontaneous soundcheck jam into a monster groove, and while “Funk #49” might not have the cultural clout of a “Free Bird” or a “Stairway to Heaven,” it endures across the decades as a bonafide AOR standard.

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Bob Marley experiences — and rejects — temptation on ‘Kinky Reggae’

Bob Marley’s best selling album, by a wide margin, is the 1984 compilation Legend. As we’ve argued previously (see “Is This Love”), Legend was purposefully marketed to white, non-reggae listeners, and it depicted Marley as a sort of spiritual prophet of love and good vibes. But Legend was heavily slanted towards the second half of Marley’s career, when he was a solo artist. Only four of the tracks on the original release predated 1977’s Exodus. Later, expanded reissues of Legend continued this trend, favoring DJ remixes of later tracks as opposed to older material.

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George Clinton’s electro classic ‘Atomic Dog’ still raises the woof

George Clinton’s musical career spans two distinct realms. The first is physical: during the 1970s, he led the groundbreaking funk/soul collective Parliament-Funkadelic to intergalactic fame and fortune, recording more than 40 R&B chart hits. The other is spiritual: Clinton’s myriad compositions have exerted an immeasurable influence on American music, in particular shaping the sound and swagger of hip-hop. The fulcrum between these two realms is “Atomic Dog,” the second single off Clinton’s 1982 debut solo record Computer Games. Though it ended up being his final hit on the charts, the song’s multi-hued, multi-hook approach to funk updated Clinton’s style for a new decade and lives on as one of West Coast hip-hop’s most recognizable samples.

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