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Song Stories

“Complete Control”

The Clash | 1979

The Clash recorded "Complete Control" with one of their idols: Jamaican dub producer Lee "Scratch" Perry. But the song couldn't have been less reggae; instead, it's a propulsive punk rant about overbearing management and record-label chicanery. (The title came from the Clash's manager, Bernie Rhodes, who called for "complete control" during one band meeting.) The lyrics are a laundry list of grievances -- beginning with a complaint about how CBS Records handled an earlier Clash single. "We was on tour and 'Remote Control' was put out behind our backs," bassist Paul Simonon explained in 2003. "We were angry, yeah, but 'Complete Control' was funny as hell."

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Song Stories

“Bleeding Love”

Leona Lewis | 2007

In 2008, The X Factor winner Leona Lewis backed up her U.K. singing competition victory with an R&B anthem for the ages: "Bleeding Love," an international hit that became the best-selling song of the year. The track was co-penned by OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder (whose radio dominance would continue with songs such as Beyonce's "Halo" and Adele's "Rumour Has It") and solo artist Jesse McCartney, who was inspired by a former girlfriend, Gossip Girl actress Katie Cassidy. Given the song's success, McCartney didn't regret handing over such a personal track: "No, no," he said. "I'm so happy for Leona. She deserves it. There are really no bad feelings."

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