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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

“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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