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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

“Santa Monica”

Everclear | 1996

After his brother and girlfriend both died of drug overdoses, Art Alexakis -- depressed and hooked on drugs himself -- jumped off the Santa Monica Pier in California, determined to die. "It was really stupid," said the Everclear frontman, who would further explore his personal emotional journey in the song "Father of Mine." "I went under the water. Then I said, 'I don't wanna die.'" The song, declaring "Let's swim out past the breakers/and watch the world die," was intended as a manifesto for change, Alexakis said. "Let the world do what it's gonna do and just live on our own."

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