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Song Stories

“Sister Ray”

The Velvet Underground | 1968

The highly improvisational "Sister Ray," which riffed on black leather, sunglasses, noise and more noise, was done in one take by the Velvet Underground, who agreed ahead of time that, good or bad, they would live with the results. While the recorded version was 17 minutes long, the band was known for stretching it to twice that length in a live setting. Andy Warhol didn't produce the song, but he did have input on "Sister Ray." According to Reed, "When we were making the second record, [Warhol] said, 'Now you gotta make sure that you do the 'sucking on my ding dong song.'"

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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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