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Song Stories

“Sexual Healing”

Marvin Gaye | 1982

After dealing with depression, financial troubles and drug abuse, Gaye went to Belgium to regroup. While there, he hung out with friend and biographer David Ritz, who sensed the inner conflict Gaye faced between his spiritual upbringing and his sex-and-drugs lifestyle. "When I suggested he needed sexual healing, he laughed and quickly agreed," Ritz wrote in Rolling Stone. A rhythm track written by sideman Odell Brown, Ritz continued, would help spark this major comeback hit. "Lyrics came pouring out of me while he sang the melody over Odell's chords. We jammed for a half-hour, and 'Sexual Healing' was written."

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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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