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It’s hard enough being in a band without having to deal with the added stress of expectations weighing down upon you. Throughout rock history, bands and artists have had to deal with various pressures: from themselves, fans, the media, the labels, everyone. Some handled it well, others didn’t. Too many bands and solo artists crumbled early because of heightened expectations after a stellar debut album. Others dissolved after a key member quit or passed away when the band was on the cusp of superstardom. In some cases, a band breaking up facilitated the inception of another, more important band. Examples…

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1. Bob Dylan, Freewheelin’ © Don Hunstein © Don Hunstein Captured in 1963 on the corner of 4th and Jones in Greenwich Village, Freewheelin’ featured the iconic album cover that inspired a generation of young men to “hunch their shoulders, look distant, and let the girl do the clinging.” Bob Dylan and Suze Rotolo stepped out of their apartment and into an icy February morning. “It was very casual, completely unplanned and it was freezing outside,” Rotolo said. “Bob just took this thin, suede jacket that wasn’t good for a New York cold winter day…he was freezing and I was…

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When George Harrison took the stand in a New York City courtroom in January 1976 to defend himself against charges that he had stolen a good portion of The Chiffons’ classic He’s So Fine and turned it into his biggest solo hit, My Sweet Lord, his memory of the song’s creation was admittedly foggy. But that did not stop him from spinning one hell of a yarn for the judge and jury. Legal documents reporting on Harrison’s testimony reported that the former Beatle insisted that Billy Preston and a group of faceless musicians and backup singers had thrashed out an…

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I recently found this quote by Albert Camus, author of the literary classic The Stranger: “A man’s work is nothing but this slow trek to rediscover, through the detours of art, those two or three great and simple images in whose presence his heart first opened.” Camus’ sentiment is lovely, describing the creative process as a journey back to the feeling of aesthetic awakening. The idea reminds me of one of my favorite passages written by Jewish mystic Abraham Joshua Heschel, redefining faith: “In every man’s life there are moments when there is a lifting of the veil at the…

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