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Sometime in the early 1970s, on a very cold winter day, I was walking along Amsterdam Avenue in Manhattan and saw a stash of record albums in a trash can. Never one to miss an opportunity for free, I grabbed them even though I had never heard of any of the musicians. One of them appeared to be an album of country-western tunes, and though NYC had recently gotten its first country-western radio station, WHN, back then that wasn’t the kind of music I usually listened to.

However, I put John Prine’s Diamonds in the Rough album on the turntable, and it became one of my favorites of the year and thereafter. There were so many great songs on it, including Take the Star Out of the Window, which to the best of my knowledge they never dared play on WHN. In a time of polarized madness over the Vietnam War, though, this song seemed to be a few minutes of sanity and reality.