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Song Stories

“Love Is Strange”

Mickey & Sylvia | 1956

Spiraling, penetrating blues-rock riffs that inspired countless young guitarists highlighted "Love Is Strange," Mickey & Sylvia playfully dueting and teasing each other in the calypso-flavored verses. The hit was an adaptation of a song the pair heard Bo Diddley guitarist Little Joe Williams playing backstage. "They called it 'Paradise,'" emphasized Diddley in Rolling Stone. "I wrote the words, and I named it 'Love Is Strange.'" Leonard Chess of Chess Records, he added, didn't want Bo to record it, and "that's why Sylvia got the song. I let her record it, and I published it under my first wife's maiden name."

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Song Stories

“Bleeding Love”

Leona Lewis | 2007

In 2008, The X Factor winner Leona Lewis backed up her U.K. singing competition victory with an R&B anthem for the ages: "Bleeding Love," an international hit that became the best-selling song of the year. The track was co-penned by OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder (whose radio dominance would continue with songs such as Beyonce's "Halo" and Adele's "Rumour Has It") and solo artist Jesse McCartney, who was inspired by a former girlfriend, Gossip Girl actress Katie Cassidy. Given the song's success, McCartney didn't regret handing over such a personal track: "No, no," he said. "I'm so happy for Leona. She deserves it. There are really no bad feelings."

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