Song Stories

“Shoot Out the Lights”

Richard and Linda Thompson | 1982

Richard and Linda Thompson wrote and recorded Shoot out the Lights, their last and best album together, as their marriage was falling apart, occasioning what producer Joe Boyd called "an elaborate soap opera." Its masterpiece is the title track, a slow, dissonant rocker about a psychotic killer made even more devastating by a pair of masterfully unrestrained guitar solos from Richard, the second alternately soaring and twitching, ending on a tantalizingly unresolved note. His lyric, originally about the Russians in Afghanistan, "Somehow developed into this urban melodrama," he told Rolling Stone. "I can't understand how that happened."

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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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