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Song Stories

“Hurt”

Johnny Cash | 2002

Musicologists will be quick to interject that "Hurt" was originally a hit for Nine Inch Nails back in 1994, but when Johnny Cash took a stab at it in 2002 at the hands of producer Rick Rubin, he recorded what many consider to be the definitive version. Cash took Trent Reznor’s industrial soundscape about a tortured soul and stripped it bare, save for an acoustic guitar. "That song isn’t mine anymore," admitted Reznor. Instead, the song, which can partially be interpreted as a lament about the ravages of drug addiction, belongs to Cash, who sacrifices himself as the prime example. He died less than a year later.

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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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