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Song Stories

“Cry Me a River”

Justin Timberlake | 2002

This breakup aria marked the formation of the Timberlake-Timbaland team, and its scandalous video — in which Justin stalks an actress dressed to look like Britney Spears, with whom he had just ended a three-year relationship — made clear the inspiration for “River.” “It's a good-ass video,” Justin Timberlake told Rolling Stone. “I didn't want anyone to come off smelling like roses.” A year later, Britney wrote and recorded her response to JT — the apologetic ballad “Everytime.”

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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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