Alex Cohen

Lowell George always took the road less traveled — even if it didn't lead to the bank. The revered singer and guitarist of Little Feat told Chicago's WXRT as much in 1979, two weeks before he died at just 34 years old.

Smokey Hormel's great-grandfather George Hormel started the famous meat company bearing the family name. His grandfather invented Spam. But Hormel — and yes, Smokey is his real given name — says he was never much interested in the family business.

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(SOUNDBITE OF BOBBY FULLER FOUR SONG, "I FOUGHT THE LAW")

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

In December of 1965, Bobby Fuller released his cover of this song.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "I FOUGHT THE LAW")

Wilko Johnson is better known in the U.K. than he is here in the States. Over there, the band he formed in 1971, Dr. Feelgood, is a big deal. The band's style is simple and blues-based, yet Johnson insists it's been quite influential.

"I think it's true to say the whole punk generation watched Dr. Feelgood," Johnson says. "We did have that influence."

Aaron Freeman and Mickey Melchiondo grew up in New Hope, Pa., and quickly became friends, bonding over their love of music one day in the eighth grade.

"I remember going to his house and he was writing, you know, these punk-rock riffs," Freeman says. "I just started screaming into the mic onto a cheap tape recorder cassette, and that was it."