Song Stories

“California Love”

Dr. Dre and 2Pac | 1996

Based on a riff from a Joe Cocker song as interpreted by the Ultramagnetic MCs, Tupac Shakur's version went to Number One upon his release from prison in 1995. Seven months before he died of gun violence, Tupac told Rolling Stone he hoped the song would be remembered not for its glorification of thug life but for its celebration of high living: "I want it to be about money," he said.

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Song Stories

“Wake Up Everybody”

John Legend and the Roots | 2010

A Number One record by Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes in 1976 (a McFadden- and Whitehead-penned classic sung by Teddy Pendergrass) inspired the title and lead single from Wake Up!, John Legend's tribute album to message music. The more familiar strains of "Wake Up Everybody" also fit his agenda. "It basically sums up, in a very concise way, all the things we were thinking about when we were putting this record together in that it's about justice, doing the right thing and coming together to make the world a better place," he said. Vocalists Common and Melanie Fiona assist Legend on this mission to connect.

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