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Song Stories

“Piss Factory”

Patti Smith | 1974

As a teenager, Patti Smith worked summers at a depressing factory that made baby buggies. While inspecting pipes and reading Rimbaud's A Season in Hell in the factory basement, Smith dreamed of a better future -- "I'm gonna be somebody," as this song later declared. "I was saying that as a young person, I still had desire -- desire to do well," she told Rolling Stone. "Perhaps some of the people in the factory lost all desire. I can understand how that can happen ... What 'Piss Factory' is about is: someone who in the midst of the dead felt alive."

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Song Stories

“Money For Nothing”

Dire Straits | 1984

Mark Knopfler wrote this song with Sting, and it wasn’t without controversy. The Dire Straits frontman's original lyric used the word “faggot” to describe a singer who got their “money for nothing and their chicks for free.” Even though the slur was edited out in many versions, the band, and Knopfler, still took plenty of criticism for the term. “I got an objection from the editor of a gay newspaper in London--he actually said it was below the belt,” Knopfler told Rolling Stone. Still, "Money For Nothing," undoubtedly augmented by its innovative early computer-animated video, stayed at Number One for three weeks.

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