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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

“Wake Up Everybody”

John Legend and the Roots | 2010

A Number One record by Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes in 1976 (a McFadden- and Whitehead-penned classic sung by Teddy Pendergrass) inspired the title and lead single from Wake Up!, John Legend's tribute album to message music. The more familiar strains of "Wake Up Everybody" also fit his agenda. "It basically sums up, in a very concise way, all the things we were thinking about when we were putting this record together in that it's about justice, doing the right thing and coming together to make the world a better place," he said. Vocalists Common and Melanie Fiona assist Legend on this mission to connect.

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