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Song Stories

“I Wanna Dance With Somebody”

Whitney Houston | 1987

Whitney Houston's voice made the song a smash hit, but it was "How Will I Know" songwriters Shannon Rubicam and George Merrill who crafted this tale of those seeking something special in a relationship. "Once again, inspiration was drawn from one of those dilemmas single people often experience, that twilight restlessness that washes in when you don't want to spend another evening alone and are longing for real love," Rubicam said. The songwriting team handed the demo to record label honcho Clive Davis and told him if he didn't like it, they'd record it for themselves. To Davis' credit, that didn't happen.

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Song Stories

“Madame George”

Van Morrison | 1968

One of the first stream-of-consciousness epics to make it onto a Van Morrison record, his drawn-out farewell to the eccentric "Madame George" lasted nearly 10 minutes, combining ingredients from folk, jazz and classical music. The character that gave the song its title provoked speculation that it was about a drag queen, though Morrison denied this in Rolling Stone. "If you see it as a male or a female or whatever, it's your trip," he remarked. "I see it as a ... a Swiss cheese sandwich. Something like that."

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