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This song was written about the Occupy movement, for which Oakland was a major stage. Here are some excerpts about "99 Revolutions" from a November 2012 Guitar World interview with Billie Joe:

"My idea of the Occupy movement goes beyond just left-wing radicals. I think 99-percenters go all the way from that to cops, firefighters, nurses, teachers and lots of people in my own family. My mom's worked at a diner her whole life. My dad was a truck driver… read more

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There's a trouble in the air
A rumble in the streets
A going out of business sale
And a race to bankruptcy

It's not 1 to 99, it's 99 to 1
A common…

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