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Song Stories

“Runaway”

Del Shannon | 1961

"Runaway" was written during an informal recording session at Detroit's Hi-Lo Club. "I hit a series of chords, and Del said, 'Let's build something,'" recalled keyboardist and co-writer Max Crook. "He was humming a melody, and I put that bridge in" -- the song's notoriously weird keyboard break, played on an electronic keyboard that Crook invented, which he named the Musitron. Shannon wrote lyrics the next day at his day job in a carpet store. Sadly, he killed himself in 1990, despite the fact that he was working on a new album with Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne, and was also rumored to be joining the pair in the Traveling Wilburys as the late Roy Orbison's replacement.

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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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