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Song Stories

“Please Forgive My Heart”

Bobby Womack | 2012

The soul-baring "Please Forgive My Heart" is the first taste off The Bravest Man in the Universe, Bobby Womack's return to the studio after a long absence from solo recording. Coaxed into the project by co-producers Damon Albarn and XL Recordings label head Richard Russell, Womack explained the session’s songwriting process: "Damon would start playing the melody and I would write to it, then sing it." The soul icon and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee has worked with Albarn before, having added vocals to the Gorillaz album Plastic Beach. Womack has given the Albarn/Russell team full credit for his comeback. "When I got to the studio, they were ready for me," he said. "They believed in me more than I believed in myself.”

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Song Stories

“American Girl”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

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