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Song Stories

“I Like the Way (The Kissing Game)”

Hi-Five | 1991

Co-writer and producer Teddy Riley helped give this Waco, Texas five-piece its only Number One single. "He put his all into it," Treston Irby, one-fifth of the group, said about Riley. To Irby, the song became bittersweet for him after the group's lead singer. Tony Thompson (who was only 15 years old when Hi-Five recorded their hit) passed away in 2007. "My fondest memory about doing that song was watching Tony do his thing," Irby said. "He being so young and giving his heart and soul into the song to make that song come across the way it did was a total blessing." 

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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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