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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

“San Francisco Mabel Joy”

Mickey Newbury | 1969

A country-folk song of epic proportions, "San Francisco Mabel Joy" tells the tale of a poor Georgia farmboy who wound up in prison after a move to the Bay Area found love turning into tragedy. First released by Mickey Newbury in 1969, it might be more familiar through covers by Waylon Jennings, Joan Baez and Kenny Rogers. "It was a five-minute song written in a two-minute world," Newbury said. "I was told it would never be cut by any artist ... I was told you could not use the term 'redneck' in a song and get it recorded."

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