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Song Stories

“Personal Jesus”

Depeche Mode | 1989

Depeche Mode's breakthrough single in the U.S. was based on a surprising source: Priscilla Presley's 1985 biography Elvis and Me. “It's about how Elvis was her man and her mentor and how often that happens in love relationships,” Martin Gore, the song's composer, said. “How everybody's heart is like a god in some way, and that's not a very balanced view of someone, is it?” Coincidentally, Elvis' fellow Sun Records artist Johnny Cash recorded a stripped-down version of the song for his Rick Rubin-produced American IV album from 2002.

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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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