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Song Stories

“Go On”

Jack Johnson | 2008

Danny Riley, a cousin of Johnson's wife, was diagnosed with brain cancer while in high school. Some time after graduation, he went to live with Johnson and his family. While attending college in Santa Barbara, Caifornia, he succumbed to the disease at age 19. A year later, Johnson released this song, which juxtaposed coming to grips with Riley's death and watching his own son grow and learn to tread water for the first time. "It's about learning to let go of someone you love," he told Rolling Stone, "watching them swim away."

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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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