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Behind The Song

Dig deep into the lyrics of classic rock songs and the storytellers that created them in "Behind The Song," a podcast by The Drive's Janda Lane. Hear what was happening behind the scenes while some of the most iconic songs in rock history were being written.

Latest Episodes

John Lennon’s message of peace at Christmas

He was the first former Beatle to release a Christmas single after the band broke up, and he found a way to make a Christmas song carry a message of peace and unity without being overly saccharine. But then again, he was John Lennon. Get into the story of how his and Yoko Ono’s 1971 single “Happy XMas (War Is Over)” arrived just in time for Christmas in this episode of the Behind The Song podcast.
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The mystery of Neil Young’s “Cinnamon Girl”

Neil Young’s second solo album, 1969’s Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, marked the first time he made an album with Crazy Horse as his backing band. Created in a rush of musical output from Young, concurrent with his work with Crosby, Stills, and Nash, it set the stage for the type of sound Young wanted to make as a solo artist: stripped back, without any fancy studio-created bells and whistles. Three of the songs on that album were written while Young had a fever from the flu, and one of them, “Cinnamon Girl,” led to Young earning the nickname “The Godfather of Grunge” decades later when bands like Nirvana embraced the the innovative way he downtuned his guitar. But who is the subject of this gritty, hypnotic tune? Find out in this episode of Behind The Song.

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How “Devil Inside” helped make INXS rock gods

By the time INXS released their sixth album, 1987’s Kick, the band were perched on the edge of international superstardom, a gig that the late Michael Hutchence seemed born for. Kick turned out to be their biggest success, but it was rejected at first by their US label. It may not have come out at all if it weren’t for a devilishly clever plan put into place by their wily manager. Dig in to the story of how this album overcame a major hurdle and made this band of brothers and friends into one of the biggest acts of the late 1980’s, in this episode of Behind The Song.

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How Bachman Turner Overdrive’s inside joke became a hit song

By the time Bachman Turner Overdrive were ready to record their third album, Not Fragile, Randy Bachman had sent demo tapes to almost two dozen record labels, all met with rejection letters. Finally, a twist of fate led to inking a contract with Mercury Records…but they were told they were one song short of “that magic element” the label thought they needed for the album. In this episode of the Behind The Song podcast, find out how “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet” was begrudgingly added to the track listing and became a number one smash for B.T.O. even though Randy Bachman had intended for the song to be nothing more than a brotherly inside joke!
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The awesome story of Temple Of The Dog’s “Hunger Strike”

Temple Of The Dog’s short-lived status as a Seattle rock supergroup got its start as a tribute project for the late Andrew Wood of Mother Love Bone, and ended up yielding one self-titled album that became a platinum seller. The idea to record songs for Wood, who died of an overdose at age 24, was the late Chris Cornell of Soundgarden’s way of coping with the grief of losing his friend, and the band he recruited as the songs became a full album included not only fellow Seattle musicians who would go on to form Pearl Jam, but a then-unknown singer who had flown up from San Diego, Eddie Vedder. Unpack the touching history of this classic tune in this episode of the Behind The Song podcast.
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Blondie’s hit song inspired by a stalker

“One Way Or Another” by Blondie is based on an experience frontwoman Debbie Harry had with a stalker ex-boyfriend. In an incredible turnabout of power, the song ended up being one of the major hits on the band’s commercial breakthrough album, Parallel Lines. It’s an inspirational tale about making something positive out of a very negative experience. Find out more in this episode of the Behind The Song podcast. 

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How Paul McCartney landed the title theme for a James Bond film

“Live And Let Die” marked some important firsts for the James Bond film franchise. It was the first 007 film to star Roger Moore as James Bond, and when it came to the music, it had a little help from some key players with Beatles pedigrees. Paul McCartney’s title theme was the first rock song ever for a Bond film, and the entire score was created by producer Sir George Martin, the fifth Beatle. Find out how it all came together in this episode of the Behind The Song podcast. 

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How Eddie Money’s Rock and Roll Dream Came True

Eddie Money seemed to burst onto the national music scene fully formed when his self-titled debut album was released in 1977 and “Two Tickets To Paradise” climbed up the charts, but he had already traveled a long and unlikely road to get there. His journey begins in a New York City police family, quitting the force himself to travel to California, where he realized his dream to become a rock star with the help of legendary promoter Bill Graham. Let’s unpack the incredible journey of this cop-turned-rock’n’roller in this episode of Behind The Song.

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The long strange history of “Casey Jones” by the Grateful Dead

A favorite among Dead fans and casual listeners alike, “Casey Jones” has a super catchy melody and an origin story that goes back to early 1900’s Americana. It all started with a real-life train engineer whose heroic act inspired a ballad that eventually became the album closer on the Workingman’s Dead album, released in 1970. As with all things Grateful Dead, there’s a story here, and so let’s get into it in this episode of Behind The Song. 

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How Tom Petty punched back at the music biz with “Refugee”

By the time Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers set out to record their third album, Damn The Torpedoes, they were in a legal mess with MCA Records over a contract sale which resulted in Petty losing all of his publishing rights, among other issues. In a drastic strategy to get the label off his back, he filed for bankruptcy and hid the master tapes of the material he, the band, and co-producer Jimmy Iovine were working on every day. That strategy worked, which resulted in a rare triumph for artists in the music business. When Damn The Torpedoes was released, it became their breakthrough, led by “Refugee,” a song Petty crafted the lyrics for in about 10 minutes. Dig in to the incredible story in this episode of the Behind The Song podcast.
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How “On The Dark Side” became a surprise hit

Without the music, the 1983 cult classic film Eddie & The Cruisers just wouldn’t be the same. And without the film, the real-life bar band band who wrote many of the songs for its multi-platinum soundtrack wouldn’t have recorded the Top Ten single from it, “On The Dark Side.” Get into the story of how John Cafferty & The Beaver Brown band got the gig of a lifetime in this episode of the Behind The Song podcast. 
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The inspiration behind David Bowie’s “The Jean Genie”

By the time David Bowie wrote the songs for his Aladdin Sane album, which was released in April of 1973, it was his first time writing as an actual rock star. Inspired by the people and places he saw in America while touring as his Ziggy Stardust concept, he called Aladdin Sane his “Ziggy Goes To America” album. Two people in particular that he met in New York City became the muse for its first single, the glam rock bop “The Jean Genie.” Get into the story in this episode of the Behind The Song podcast.
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Janda co-hosts afternoons with Seaver on The Drive.

Janda is an enthusiastic transplant to Chicago, having recently arrived from Los Angeles. She has hosted radio programs across the country, including at KCRW – Los Angeles, 91X – San Diego, – Los Angeles, KNDD – Seattle, WAVF – Charleston and WEND – Charlotte. Her experience also includes work behind the camera as a video director and producer and as a music curator.

Janda’s interests outside of radio and music include all kinds of film and TV shows, thriller fiction, food, her family and her cats Ollie and Liam. When she has any spare time, she studies traffic maps and practices saxophone and guitar. Her favorite artist of all time is David Bowie, and her favorite color is red.

Janda says, “I’m thrilled to be here in Chicago, the best city in the world, and at The Drive, the best station with the best fans in the world!”