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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

“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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