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Song Stories

“The A Team”

Ed Sheeran | 2011

This debut track from the then-20-year-old British singer-songwriter has a dark story behind it. Sheeran says he culls songwriting inspiration from "viewing other people's situations," which, for the heroine in "The A Team," involves drug addiction and prostitution that began as a teen. Sheeran paints the woman's trials with haunting imagery such as "But lately her face seems/Slowly sinking, wasting/Crumbling like pastries." "I did a gig at a homeless shelter, [and the song] is about one of the women there. It's her story," he said.

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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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