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Song Stories

“Fuck You”

Cee-Lo Green | 2010

The F-bomb never sounded so charming, and never before had the word wrestled its way into Grammy Awards territory (the song landed five nominations). Family audiences went gaga over the song's radio-friendly counterpart, "Forget You," thanks in part to its exposure on Fox's "Glee." Bruno Mars's Smeezingtons crew helped pen the dirty-word ditty. How did such a lewd title win so much love? "It's cute as a button," Green told Rolling Stone. "It's very disarming, and it actually sounds nothing like that title—it's got a very tongue-in-cheek quality. It's "Fuck You"—but with a smile on your face."

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Song Stories

“San Francisco Mabel Joy”

Mickey Newbury | 1969

A country-folk song of epic proportions, "San Francisco Mabel Joy" tells the tale of a poor Georgia farmboy who wound up in prison after a move to the Bay Area found love turning into tragedy. First released by Mickey Newbury in 1969, it might be more familiar through covers by Waylon Jennings, Joan Baez and Kenny Rogers. "It was a five-minute song written in a two-minute world," Newbury said. "I was told it would never be cut by any artist ... I was told you could not use the term 'redneck' in a song and get it recorded."

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