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Song Stories

“Possession”

Sarah McLachlan | 1993

When an obsessed fan sent Sarah McLachlan a plethora of love letters, instead of recoiling in fear, she penned a song. "Writing the song 'Possession' [about the fan] was very therapeutic," the Canadian singer told Rolling Stone. The stalker sued her for the unauthorized use of his private letters, but the lawsuit was dropped after he committed suicide. "It's funny, because almost every letter I get these days, the writer says, 'I'm not one of those psycho fans.' But ever since then I haven't gotten any letters that were freaky like that, which is great, because I used to get them all of the time."

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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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