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Song Stories

“Okie From Muskogee”

Merle Haggard | 1969

Did Merle Haggard really mean it when he lambasted the Woodstock generation while upholding small-town Southern values? In 1971, he claimed the song’s reactionary stance started out as a joke: While he and his band were driving through the Oklahoma town of the song’s title, he sang out what would become the song’s opening line – “We don’t smoke marijuana in Muskogee.” However, in 2009, Haggard told Rolling Stone, “The reason I wrote it is was because I was dumb as a rock.” Then, in further contradiction, he added, “Another reason is it needed to be written.”

Find out what surprised Merle Haggard about Barack Obama when they met.
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Song Stories

“You Oughta Know”

Alanis Morissette | 1995

This blunt, bitter breakup song -- famous for its line "Would she go down on you in a theater?" -- was long rumored to be about Alanis Morissette getting dumped by Full House actor Dave Coulier. But while she never confirmed it was about him (Coulier himself says it is, however), she insisted the song wasn't all about scorn. "By no means is this record just a sexual, angry record," she told Rolling Stone. "The song wasn't written for the sake of revenge. It was written for the sake of release. I'm actually a pretty rational, calm person."

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