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Song Stories

“Blank Generation”

Richard Hell | 1977

When Richard Hell came up with verses for "Blank Generation," he certainly didn’t know he was creating a slogan and an anthem for a movement, nor did he bank on the Sex Pistols nicking his idea for their own "Pretty Vacant." Hell says he was "pretty p---ed off” when he first heard the Pistols song, pointing the finger at the punk provocateurs' manager and mastermind: “Malcolm MacLaren had stolen that whole attitude from 'Blank Generation.' But ideas are free property," Hell said. "I stole s---, too." Good thing he owned up to his own theft, as much of "Blank Generation" bears a more-than-coincidental resemblance to "The Beat Generation," a 1959 novelty single recorded by poet Rod McKuen.

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Song Stories

“You Oughta Know”

Alanis Morissette | 1995

This blunt, bitter breakup song -- famous for its line "Would she go down on you in a theater?" -- was long rumored to be about Alanis Morissette getting dumped by Full House actor Dave Coulier. But while she never confirmed it was about him (Coulier himself says it is, however), she insisted the song wasn't all about scorn. "By no means is this record just a sexual, angry record," she told Rolling Stone. "The song wasn't written for the sake of revenge. It was written for the sake of release. I'm actually a pretty rational, calm person."

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