Song Stories

“Fight the Power”

Public Enemy | 1989

The defiant rap group first recorded what is perhaps their best-known song for the Spike Lee movie Do the Right Thing. Built on multiple layers of samples beginning with the agitated bass pattern from "Hot Pants Road" by James Brown's backing group the J.B.'s, the song was a provocative call to arms for would-be revolutionaries. Frontman Chuck D once called the song the group's "most important record . . . It was written to be an anthem, at a particular time that needed an anthem."

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“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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