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Song Stories

“November Rain”

Guns N' Roses | 1991

Axl Rose was working on “November Rain” before Guns N’ Roses even formed, back in 1983 when he was still part of L.A. Guns. He knew he was onto something big but kept revising the song until 1991 when Guns N’ Roses recorded the nearly nine-minute version that made it onto Use Your Illusion I. The song was inspired in part by Elton John, and Rose told Rolling Stone, “We’re competing with rock legends and we’re trying to do the best we can to possibly be honored with a position like that.” The recorded version features two guitar solos, a string arrangement and background vocals from Blind Melon frontman Shannon Hoon, who died of a drug OD just a few years later.

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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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