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Song Stories

“Stan”

Eminem | 2000

One of Eminem’s best-known songs and biggest hits, “Stan” details a fan’s descent into dangerous obsession through his letters to his rapper hero. Eminem once explained the title character to Rolling Stone: “He’s crazy for real, and he thnks I’m crazy, but I try to help him at the end of the song. It kinda shows the real side of me.” The song features a prominent sample of Dido’s “Thank You,” which was a concurrent hit. Facing charges of homophobia, Eminem performed “Stan” at the 2001 Grammy Awards with the openly gay Elton John singing the chorus.

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Song Stories

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

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