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Song Stories

“Say Man”

Bo Diddley | 1959

Bo Diddley and his maracas player Jerome Green were fooling around in the studio trading good-natured insults to a blues-Latin beat when "Say Man" was taped, resulting in Bo's only Top Twenty hit. Although it sounds like a spur-of-the-moment jam, Diddley maintained it was written down long before it was recorded. "A lot of the things I did in the Chess studios, we were just goofin' around," he said. "They played it back, and it shocked all of us! Of course, they cut out all the dirty parts."

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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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