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Song Stories

“I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free”

Nina Simone | 1967

Co-written by Billy Taylor and originally recorded by the jazz piano legend, this civil rights anthem was redone many times over, but none as famously as by Simone, who released it on her Silk & Soul album. Freedom was a value dear to the singer; she explored the theme time and again in her own compositions and reflected it in those she recorded. "I'll tell you what freedom is to me," she said. "No fear. It is something really, really to feel -- like a new way of seeing something."

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Song Stories

“Promiscuous”

Nelly Furtado with Timbaland | 2006

This club-oriented single featuring Timbaland, who produced Nelly Furtado's third album, Loose, was Furtado’s sexy return after the Canadian singer's exploration of her Portuguese heritage on Folklore. "In the studio, initially I didn’t know if I could do it, 'cause Timbaland wrote that chorus," Furtado said. "I'm like, 'That's cool, but I don't know if I'm ready to do full-out club.'" The flirty lyrics are a dance between a guy and girl, each knowing they will end up in bed together but still playing the game. "Tim and I called it 'The BlackBerry Song,' she said, "because everything we say in the song you could text-message to somebody."

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