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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

“Vans”

The Pack | 2006

Berkeley, California rappers the Pack made their footwear choice clear in 2006 with the song "Vans." The track caught the attention of Too $hort, who signed them to his imprint. MTV refused to play the video for the song, though, claiming it was essentially a commercial for the product. Rapper Lil' B disagreed. "I didn’t know nobody [at] Vans," he said. "I was just a rapper who wore Vans." Even without MTV's support, Lil' B recognized the impact of the track. "God blessed me with such a revolutionary song… People around my age know who really started a lot of the dressing people are into now."

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