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Song Stories

“Big Girls Don't Cry”

Fergie | 2006

Described by Rolling Stone in the 100 Best Songs of 2007 as a "modern-day version of 'I Will Survive,'" this track finds Fergie declaring her independence. "It's personal, myself and I/We've got some straightenin' out to do," she sings in a song that she started writing when she left the pop trio Wild Orchid, before her days with the Black Eyed Peas. "I probably wouldn't have written those lyrics now," Fergie said in 2007. Maybe not, but she's glad she released them.

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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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