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Song Stories

“In the Air Tonight”

Phil Collins | 1981

Through the years, an urban legend -- repeated in the Eminem song "Stan" -- maintained that this moody number was about a preventable drowning Collins had witnessed at sea. But in reality, this song, along with his entire debut album, was inspired by a split with his wife. "If I hadn't gotten divorced, I never would have written it," he told Rolling Stone. Known for its drum outburst, which was suggested by Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun, it established the Genesis frontman as a solo act. In adition, the song got a significant bump from appearing on the Miami Vice premiere.

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Song Stories

“Santa Monica”

Everclear | 1996

After his brother and girlfriend both died of drug overdoses, Art Alexakis -- depressed and hooked on drugs himself -- jumped off the Santa Monica Pier in California, determined to die. "It was really stupid," said the Everclear frontman, who would further explore his personal emotional journey in the song "Father of Mine." "I went under the water. Then I said, 'I don't wanna die.'" The song, declaring "Let's swim out past the breakers/and watch the world die," was intended as a manifesto for change, Alexakis said. "Let the world do what it's gonna do and just live on our own."

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