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Song Stories

“In the Still of the Night”

The Five Satins | 1956

Not a smash hit upon first release -- it was actually a B side -- this doo-wop staple by a vocal group from New Haven, Connecticut, went on to become one of the style’s most iconic tunes. In fact, its nonsense refrain (“doo wop, doo wah”) is often cited as the origin of the term “doo-wop” itself. Written by lead singer Fred Parris while on Army guard duty, and recorded on the cheap in the basement of a hometown church, complete with a muffled rhythm section and off-key backing vocals, the song nevertheless went on to top New York oldies station WCBS’ countdown of all-time oldies favorites year in and year out.

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Song Stories

“Money For Nothing”

Dire Straits | 1984

Mark Knopfler wrote this song with Sting, and it wasn’t without controversy. The Dire Straits frontman's original lyric used the word “faggot” to describe a singer who got their “money for nothing and their chicks for free.” Even though the slur was edited out in many versions, the band, and Knopfler, still took plenty of criticism for the term. “I got an objection from the editor of a gay newspaper in London--he actually said it was below the belt,” Knopfler told Rolling Stone. Still, "Money For Nothing," undoubtedly augmented by its innovative early computer-animated video, stayed at Number One for three weeks.

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