How Good It Is

A Music podcast

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How Good It Is Episodes

Recent Episodes

58--Alice's Restaurant Massacree

  • 3 days ago

No, that's not a typo; "massacree" is a real word, and it's part of the Arlo Guthrie song that has become a Thanksgiving tradition at radio stations nationwide.

57--Shel Silverstein, Part I

  • 10 days ago

Shel Silverstein was a poet, a cartoonist, a humorist and a songwriter who wrote more hits than most people would suspect.


  • 17 days ago

The Isley Brothers' first charting hit from 1959 got its start not as a song, but as a bit they'd do to extend another song they were already singing in concert.


  • 24 days ago

Ray Parker Jr wasn't the first person approached to come up with a pop song to support this film, but he was the last, and the best.

54--Walk on the Wild Side

  • about 1 month ago

Lou Reed's signature song (he once joked that he knew his obituary would start with "doot, di-doot, di-doot...") has its origins in people he knew and worked with at Andy Warhol's studio, The Factory.

53--Both Sides Now

  • about 1 month ago

One fine evening in 1967, Judy Collins gets a call from Al Kooper and Joni Mitchell, and it turns into her first Top 40 hit.

52--Into the Night

  • about 2 months ago

Benny Mardones may be the only person to be a one-hit wonder twice, charting two times with the same version of the same song.

Episode 52--Into the Night

  • about 2 months ago

Benny Mardones may be the only person to be a one-hit wonder twice, charting two times with the same version of the same song.

51--Barbara Ann

  • 2 months ago

This hit from early 1966 isn't quite the spontaneous fun party it sounds like.

50--Exchange Students

  • 2 months ago

This week we take a look at a bunch of artists who made it into the higher tiers of the Hot 100 with songs that weren't recorded in English.

49--School's Out

  • 3 months ago

Alice Cooper's biggest hit was inspired by two things: Old movies and the last three minutes of the school day.

48--Under the Covers, Part 3

  • 3 months ago

It's been a while since we took a look at a bunch of songs that you may not realize are covers of other artists' work.

47--Remembering Aretha Franklin

  • 3 months ago

Aretha Franklin died on August 16, 2018. This week's show takes a look back at the life and music career of the Queen of Soul.

46--Mellow Yellow

  • 3 months ago

Donovan struck lucky a couple of times with this song: first, it was the beginning of people looking into the deeper meaning behind absolutely every lyric. Second, the song got a weird boost from a practical joke being played by an underground newspaper out of Berkeley.


  • 4 months ago

Disco was on its way out, to be replaced by Hip-Hop or New Wave, depending on the clubs you frequented. Blondie's last major hit in the US was a track that departed from their previous style and broke a few barriers along the way.

44--Smoke on the Water

  • 4 months ago

After a mishap during a Frank Zappa concert destroyed the space that Deep Purple was going to use for a recording space, the band had to scramble to find a new space. Once they'd found it, they wrote a song outlining the story of the accidental arson and the search for a new location. While they didn't have big hopes for the song, it became their biggest hit.

43--Where Did Our Love Go

  • 4 months ago

The Supremes were doing so poorly on the charts that people around Motown were calling them the "No-Hit Supremes". Then along came a song that nobody at the label wanted to record, and the Supremes, backed into a corner, recorded what turned out to be their first Number One hit.

42--Baker Street

  • 5 months ago

In 1978, Gerry Rafferty was finally untangled from the legal squabbles created by the multiple breakups of Stealers Wheel. He took the experience and turned it into a monster hit, but there are a couple of intriguing controversies surrounding the song.

41--Summertime Blues

  • 5 months ago

The song that cemented Eddie Cochran's place in the Rock and Roll firmament was written in about an hour by a 19 year old Cochran and his manager.

40--Murray Head

  • 5 months ago

Murray Head is another one of those famous guys whose name is known to few. He had two hit singles in the US, 15 years apart and very different in style, tone and content, but which have something very peculiar in common.

39--Under the Boardwalk

  • 5 months ago

One of The Drifters' bigger hits might have been a sequel to one of their earlier songs, but it was definitely a prequel to one of their later songs.

38--Killing Me Softly With His Song

  • 5 months ago

It's 1971 and Don McLean hadn't yet hit it big with "American Pie," so he was touring around and caught the attention of a singer-songwriter named Lori Lieberman, who was so touched by his performance that she wrote a poem which ultimately became a hit in multiple genres.

37--Walk This Way

  • 6 months ago

The rumor goes that Aerosmith was inspired by a Mel Brooks movie to write the song that provided them with not only their first Top 10 hit, but that gave them the lever to make a comeback in 1986. As far as the rumor is concerned, let me quote another Mel Brooks movie: "It's twoo, it's twoo!"

36--Sultans of Swing

  • 6 months ago

Mark Knopfler sees a band performing to a nearly-empty house in a South London pub, and turned the experience into Dire Straits' breakout single.

35--(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction

  • 6 months ago

By early 1965, the Rolling Stones had scored a couple of hits, but they were still Just Another British Band Covering a Bunch of American R&B Songs. Then one night Keith Richards literally wrote something in his sleep, and it became the start of something that turned them into a worldwide phenomenon.