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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

“Vans”

The Pack | 2006

Berkeley, California rappers the Pack made their footwear choice clear in 2006 with the song "Vans." The track caught the attention of Too $hort, who signed them to his imprint. MTV refused to play the video for the song, though, claiming it was essentially a commercial for the product. Rapper Lil' B disagreed. "I didn’t know nobody [at] Vans," he said. "I was just a rapper who wore Vans." Even without MTV's support, Lil' B recognized the impact of the track. "God blessed me with such a revolutionary song… People around my age know who really started a lot of the dressing people are into now."

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