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Song Stories

“Ice Ice Baby”

Vanilla Ice | 1990

Ice's flat-top hairdo, shoulder pads and phony past made it easy to mock this hip-hop tune that samples "Under Pressure" by Queen and David Bowie. But it was the first hip-hop tune to hit No. 1 on the U.S. mainstream charts. Just 16 when he co-wrote the song, years later Ice stood by his big hit. "If someone comes up to me and starts doing 'Ice Ice Baby,' 10 times out of 10 I'm going to join in," he said. Rap Mogul Suge Knight allegedly "persuaded" Ice to sign over millions of royalties from the song to him.

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Song Stories

“San Francisco Mabel Joy”

Mickey Newbury | 1969

A country-folk song of epic proportions, "San Francisco Mabel Joy" tells the tale of a poor Georgia farmboy who wound up in prison after a move to the Bay Area found love turning into tragedy. First released by Mickey Newbury in 1969, it might be more familiar through covers by Waylon Jennings, Joan Baez and Kenny Rogers. "It was a five-minute song written in a two-minute world," Newbury said. "I was told it would never be cut by any artist ... I was told you could not use the term 'redneck' in a song and get it recorded."

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