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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

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

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