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Song Stories

“California Gurls”

Katy Perry feat. Snoop Dogg | 2010

Katie Perry confessed to Rolling Stone her SoCal anthem “is not genius. It’s not my opus. But it’s catchy as f---, and it’s a great summertime song.” The pop princess explained that Jay-Z was one of several inspirations for this hit song. “It’s so great that 'Empire State of Mind' is huge and that everybody has the New York song, but what the f---? What about L.A.? What about California? And it’s been a minute since we’ve had a California song and especially from a girl’s perspective.”

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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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