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Song Stories

“Please Don't”

David Byrne and Fatboy Slim | 2010

When David Byrne read about Imelda Marcos's fondness for disco, he immediately began conceptualizing a disco opera, which became the album Here Lies Love. In writing some of the songs about Marcos (who is the wife of Ferdinand Marcos, exiled president of the Philippines, and a politician herself) Byrne turned parts of her speeches into lyrics. "Some of Imelda's quotes say so much," he said. "They were gifts." In this song, electro-pop artist Santigold sings, "Don't let them look down on us/Like they used to do me"--a Marcos-penned line about her hardscrabble childhood and her country's place in the world.

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Song Stories

“Bleeding Love”

Leona Lewis | 2007

In 2008, The X Factor winner Leona Lewis backed up her U.K. singing competition victory with an R&B anthem for the ages: "Bleeding Love," an international hit that became the best-selling song of the year. The track was co-penned by OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder (whose radio dominance would continue with songs such as Beyonce's "Halo" and Adele's "Rumour Has It") and solo artist Jesse McCartney, who was inspired by a former girlfriend, Gossip Girl actress Katie Cassidy. Given the song's success, McCartney didn't regret handing over such a personal track: "No, no," he said. "I'm so happy for Leona. She deserves it. There are really no bad feelings."

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