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Song Stories

“Sweet Baby James”

James Taylor | 1970

After a stint in a mental hospital and an ongoing battle with heroin addiction, James Taylor returned to his family's home on Martha's Vineyard, seeking their help. "It just may be possible that we can't find anything more comfortable than the time that we had as a family," he told Rolling Stone. Around that time his brother Alex--a former band mate who also taught Taylor how to sing--had a baby, who he named James. In return, Taylor wrote this "cowboy lullaby," as he's called it, for his new nephew.

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Song Stories

“You Oughta Know”

Alanis Morissette | 1995

This blunt, bitter breakup song -- famous for its line "Would she go down on you in a theater?" -- was long rumored to be about Alanis Morissette getting dumped by Full House actor Dave Coulier. But while she never confirmed it was about him (Coulier himself says it is, however), she insisted the song wasn't all about scorn. "By no means is this record just a sexual, angry record," she told Rolling Stone. "The song wasn't written for the sake of revenge. It was written for the sake of release. I'm actually a pretty rational, calm person."

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