Although Billie Holiday had endured many hardships in life, a scene in the movie Lady Sings the Blues -- based on her autobiography -- inspired Robinson to write this as the film was being made. "One night I was thinking about Billie Holiday and when she first met Billy Dee Williams' character and how that changed her life and made her happy," he said. He finished the song too late for the movie, though, so it was first recorded by a teenaged Michael Jackson and later appeared on Robinson's own album A Quiet Storm.
Listening to MGMT’s breakthrough song, one might interpret it as being about the excesses of rock stardom, but it’s actually about the duo’s pet praying mantis. Ben Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden told Rolling Stone they got the idea from the insect's jerky movements. The mantis died, but the two bandmates kept the egg sack and allowed the hundreds of eggs to hatch. “We tried to name them all, but they died after a day,” said Goldwasser, with VanWyngarden chiming in, “But the praying mantis dance inspired us.”