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Song Stories

“Graceland”

Paul Simon | 1986

Paul Simon caused a tremendous stir in 1986, audaciously recording this blend of pop and South African mbaqanga music with South African musicians in their homeland. Some grumbled that he shouldn’t have “supported” the apartheid government then in power, but fans loved the new sound, taking the album to Number Three and pushing the title track into the Top 40. Simon has long been slow in the studio, and the same goes for this song. “The two longest songs on this album were ‘The Boy in the Bubble’ and ‘Graceland,’ ” Simon told Rolling Stone. “It took three or four months to write each of them.”

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Song Stories

“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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