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Song Stories

“Message in a Bottle”

The Police | 1979

"Roxanne" was the band's first bona fide hit, and Sting wondered if he could top it, which is where the genesis for the Police's second big hit came from. "Then I wrote 'Message in a Bottle,' which was better than 'Roxanne'," the Police frontman said. Sting admitted he developed the lyrics around the title. "I don't write the first line of a song. It's a mistake. Then you have to come up with a second. I had this 'Message in a Bottle.' What's 'Message in a Bottle' about? It's usually about some guy with ragged trousers and a beard on a desert island."

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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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