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Song Stories

“Hands”

The Ting Tings | 2010

After a brief hiatus from their 2008 debut, We Started Nothing, the Manchester, England, duo released a one-off dance-y single tailored to the overworked. “It was the first song that kind of felt like the old Ting Tings, and we thought we would slowly build towards the other singles that will sound different,” Katie White, the Ting Tings' lead vocalist, said. “We didn’t like to capitalize the fact that everyone is down on their luck at the minute but a lot of people can connect to the lyrics — working too hard and working the grind. I think it is quite relevant.”

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Song Stories

“American Girl”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

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