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Song Stories

“Iron Man”

Black Sabbath | 1971

Despite "Iron Man" containing one of heavy metal's most recognizable guitar riffs -- courtesy of Black Sabbath's mighty mustachioed guitarist, Tony Iommi -- one shouldn't read too much into the song's lyrics, which appear to be about a doomed part-human/part-machine time traveler. "We smoked a lot of dope, so that might be why some of the lyrics are a bit unusual," Iommi recounted in his autobiography. "Like 'Iron Man,' which came from a comic about a robot which became alive." The song continues to resonate in the decades since it was first released: A live version won a Grammy Award in 2000 and could be heard in the end credits of the 2008 action movie about the comic-book superhero of the same name.

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Song Stories

“Vans”

The Pack | 2006

Berkeley, California rappers the Pack made their footwear choice clear in 2006 with the song "Vans." The track caught the attention of Too $hort, who signed them to his imprint. MTV refused to play the video for the song, though, claiming it was essentially a commercial for the product. Rapper Lil' B disagreed. "I didn’t know nobody [at] Vans," he said. "I was just a rapper who wore Vans." Even without MTV's support, Lil' B recognized the impact of the track. "God blessed me with such a revolutionary song… People around my age know who really started a lot of the dressing people are into now."

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