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Song Stories

“Happy”

Smokey Robinson & The Miracles | 1975

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.

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Song Stories

“Road to Nowhere”

Talking Heads | 1985

A cappella harmonies give way to an a fuller arrangement blending pop and electro-disco on "Road to Nowhere," but the theme remains constant: We're on an eternal journey to an undefined destination. The song vaulted back into the news a quarter century after it was a hit when Gov. Charlie Crist used it in his unsuccessful 2010 campaign for the U.S. Senate in Florida. "It's this little ditty about how there's no order and no plan and no scheme to life and death and it doesn't mean anything, but it's all right," Byrne said with a chuckle.

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