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Song Stories

“Jessie's Girl”

Rick Springfield | 1981

Rick Springfield manager Joe Gottfried made a deal with producer Keith Olsen: If Olsen produced two of Springfield's songs, Gottfried would build him a studio. Once the deal was made, Springfield -- who had turned to acting in soap operas as his musical career faltered -- gave Olsen several demos, and one song stood out. "I never really thought of it as a single," said Springfield. "I thought there were better songs on the album, actually." Though the song is about a guy who falls for his best friend's woman, in real life, "Jessie" was a fellow art class student Springfield didn't know that well.

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Song Stories

“Madame George”

Van Morrison | 1968

One of the first stream-of-consciousness epics to make it onto a Van Morrison record, his drawn-out farewell to the eccentric "Madame George" lasted nearly 10 minutes, combining ingredients from folk, jazz and classical music. The character that gave the song its title provoked speculation that it was about a drag queen, though Morrison denied this in Rolling Stone. "If you see it as a male or a female or whatever, it's your trip," he remarked. "I see it as a ... a Swiss cheese sandwich. Something like that."

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