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Song Stories

“Informer”

Snow | 1993

Inspired by his stint in jail, Snow hooked up with MC Shan and released "Informer." Reggae purists, who didn't buy into Snow's brand of Canadian dancehall, criticized the song. Nonetheless, "Informer "quickly climbed the charts and holds two Guinness world records — as the Biggest Selling Reggae Single in U.S. History and Highest Charting Reggae Single in U.K. History. "We recorded it in my basement. Actually, I own 66 percent of the publishing rights on that 12 Inches of Snow album," MC Shan revealed. "That's what I been doin' all these years … that album made it possible for me to sit on my ass and rethink my whole life."

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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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