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Song Stories

“All That She Wants”

Ace of Base | 1994

When Ace of Base recorded this reggae-inspired pop tune, singer Linn Berggen said "We knew we had made a hit." Inspired by "Another Mother," a hit by fellow-Swede Kayo, the group decided to write something similar. They sent a demo of their song--then titled "Mr. Ace"--to producer Denniz Pop, who listened to it repeatedly after the cassette got jammed in his car stereo. While the song quickly climbed the Danish and U.K. charts, distributors didn't think it could be a U.S. hit until Clive Davis, founder of Arista Records, thought otherwise.

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Song Stories

“American Girl”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

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