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Song Stories

“It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels”

Kitty Wells | 1952

This was the first major record by a woman to be a hit in the country music world. It was an answer to the Hank Thompson song, "The Wild Side of Life." Written by J.D. Miller, it was the first number one song by a female solo singer to hit the top of the Billboard charts. The song not only helped shape Wells' career, it was one of the tunes that paved the way for women like Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette and Dolly Parton to step outside the "girl singer" mentality of country music in the 50's to have their own careers. It was a daring move for Wells to record a song that set men straight in the 50's, because the term women's lib had not yet been invented. NBC radio network banned the song for being suggestive and she couldn't sing it on the Grand Ole Opry or NBC's Prince Albert radio show. Nevertheless it stayed number one for six weeks on the Billboard charts. Even Wells was reluctant to record the song the first time she heard it. After the song was such a hit, she said, "I was shocked at the song's success and how it has had staying power in the country music."

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Song Stories

“Bleeding Love”

Leona Lewis | 2007

In 2008, The X Factor winner Leona Lewis backed up her U.K. singing competition victory with an R&B anthem for the ages: "Bleeding Love," an international hit that became the best-selling song of the year. The track was co-penned by OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder (whose radio dominance would continue with songs such as Beyonce's "Halo" and Adele's "Rumour Has It") and solo artist Jesse McCartney, who was inspired by a former girlfriend, Gossip Girl actress Katie Cassidy. Given the song's success, McCartney didn't regret handing over such a personal track: "No, no," he said. "I'm so happy for Leona. She deserves it. There are really no bad feelings."

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