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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

“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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