Story Previews / True Stories Behind the Songs

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Unit 1 Song: “Here Comes the Sun”

1. Story Behind the Song: What events prompted George Harrison to write the most downloaded of all the Beatles songs?

2. Companion Story: Why is an immigrant from Guatemala sleeping 12 hours a day and bingeing on candy bars? What is wrong, and what is the remedy?

Unit 2 Song: “Ring of Fire”

3. Story Behind the Song: This song is not by Johnny Cash, but about Johnny Cash. Who wrote it–and why?

4. Companion Story: How does a young man react when his parents threaten to disown him if he marries the woman he loves?

Unit 3 Song: “Melancholy Baby”

5. Story Behind the Song: This song’s composer had total amnesia after a head injury in World War I. How did the song restore his memory?

6. Companion Story: A Czech motorbike racer inexplicably begins speaking only English after a crash. How long does this phenomenon last?

Unit 4 Song: “Breakaway”

7. Story Behind the Song: How does Kelly Clarkson’s hit song mirror her own life?

8. Companion Story: What happens when a woman takes a dare and kisses the next man who gets on the bus she’s riding?

Unit 5 Song: “I Will Always Love You”

9. Story Behind the Song: Will the love between two men and their pet lion endure even after the lion is returned to the wild?

10. Companion Story: How does a stray cat change the life of the librarian who discovers it in the book bin of a small-town library?

Unit 6 Song: “Pay Me My Money Down”

11. Story Behind the Song: What prompted dockworkers and sailors in South Carolina to sing this song in the early 1900s?

12. Companion Story: When a factory is sold, the owners give each employee an envelope. What is in the envelope?

Unit 7 Song: “Happy Days Are Here Again”

13. Story Behind the Song: What was the Great Depression? How and when did it begin, and how did this tune help people keep their spirits up?

14. Companion Story: What surprise awaits a man who returns 25 years later to thank a stranger who helped his family during the Great Depression?

Unit 8 Song: “Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?”

15. Story Behind the Song: How does this Louis Armstrong song comfort a homesick reporter caught in a sandstorm in Sudan?

16. Companion Story: Minutes after their arrival in New York, French tourists find themselves in the middle of a terrifying high-speed car chase. How does the city make amends?

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