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Song Stories

“Rumour Has It”

Adele | 2011

Adele included this song, which she wrote with veteran songwriter and producer Ryan Tedder, on her second album, 21. The singer admits that the tune was her own way of responding to people in her inner circle who fell prey to the stories and lies that began to circulate about her all over the media when she became a household name. “People might think it's about blogs and magazines and papers, but it's not,” she said. “It's about my own friends believing stuff that they hear about me, which is pretty mortifying, really.”

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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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