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Song Stories

“American Boy”

Estelle feat. Kanye West | 2008

Estelle made a successful U.S. debut -- and won a Grammy for it -- when she wrote an ode to more than one "American Boy." The lady from London spanned the States as she celebrates guys from Cali, New York and Miami, but Estelle forgot to slip in a note about fellas from the Midwest. She made up for it, however, by making room for 16 bars by Chicago's own Kanye West. "Kanye basically just brought his own cheeky self to the track, his own sense of humor," Estelle said of West's contribution. "At first he was like, 'How can you rap over a dance beat?' -- and now he's done it!"

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Song Stories

“Madame George”

Van Morrison | 1968

One of the first stream-of-consciousness epics to make it onto a Van Morrison record, his drawn-out farewell to the eccentric "Madame George" lasted nearly 10 minutes, combining ingredients from folk, jazz and classical music. The character that gave the song its title provoked speculation that it was about a drag queen, though Morrison denied this in Rolling Stone. "If you see it as a male or a female or whatever, it's your trip," he remarked. "I see it as a ... a Swiss cheese sandwich. Something like that."

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