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Song Stories

“Lean on Me”

Bill Withers | 1972

Bill Withers dug back to his childhood in the coal mining town of Slab Fork, West Virginia when he wrote this Number One hit in Los Angeles. A product of his upbringing, where neighbors helped neighbors — and strangers — he noted that big cities did not have that same sense of a warm and giving community. While sitting at his Wurlitzer electric piano, the phrase “lean on me” sprung to mind. “What would I say that would cause me to say ‘lean on me’?” Withers pondered. “At that point, it's between you and your actual feelings, you and your morals and what you're really like."

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Song Stories

“You Oughta Know”

Alanis Morissette | 1995

This blunt, bitter breakup song -- famous for its line "Would she go down on you in a theater?" -- was long rumored to be about Alanis Morissette getting dumped by Full House actor Dave Coulier. But while she never confirmed it was about him (Coulier himself says it is, however), she insisted the song wasn't all about scorn. "By no means is this record just a sexual, angry record," she told Rolling Stone. "The song wasn't written for the sake of revenge. It was written for the sake of release. I'm actually a pretty rational, calm person."

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