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Song Stories

“Like a Virgin”

Madonna | 1984

Madonna’s first of many Number One singles epitomized what she stood for back then: being playful, sexy, bold. In 2009, the pop diva told Rolling Stone she found it “ironic and provocative, but also unlike me … I certainly wasn't a virgin, and, by the way, how can you be like a virgin? I liked the play on words." The song's lyrics had a charming birth. Coming off a difficult relationship, songwriter Billy Steinberg met someone else and was “feeling shiny and new,” he said. “I made it through the wilderness, somehow I made it through — I made it through this very difficult time."

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Song Stories

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

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