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Song Stories

“Party in the U.S.A.”

Miley Cyrus | 2009

Originally co-written by English artist Jessie J for her own use, "Party in the U.S.A." was repurposed for Miley Cyrus to reflect her intimidating move from Nashville to Hollywood. The dance-pop song peaked at Number Two on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming the former Disney star's biggest hit to date. Her performance of "Party" at the 2009 Teen Choice Awards was met with controversy when a scantily clad then-16-year-old Cyrus did a suggestive pole dance. She once described the track, whose accompanying music video riffs off the 1978 film Grease, as "an all-American song … about my roots."

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Song Stories

“San Francisco Mabel Joy”

Mickey Newbury | 1969

A country-folk song of epic proportions, "San Francisco Mabel Joy" tells the tale of a poor Georgia farmboy who wound up in prison after a move to the Bay Area found love turning into tragedy. First released by Mickey Newbury in 1969, it might be more familiar through covers by Waylon Jennings, Joan Baez and Kenny Rogers. "It was a five-minute song written in a two-minute world," Newbury said. "I was told it would never be cut by any artist ... I was told you could not use the term 'redneck' in a song and get it recorded."

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