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Song Stories

“Tunic (Song for Karen)”

Sonic Youth | 1990

"Tunic (Song for Karen)" was Sonic Youth's tribute to and elegy for Karen Carpenter, who died from complications related to anorexia. Kim Gordon sang on the track, which described the Carpenters lead singer as saying goodbye to Hollywood, and hello to other dead rock stars like Elvis and Janis Joplin. Thurston Moore wasn't a fan of the Carpenters, but he was intrigued by the subject matter. "Oh, it was crap music," he said, "but was also extremely interesting … They were white bread, middle-class people, and Karen was somebody who was supposed to be perfect. It was a heavy slice of Americana, like the Walton family."

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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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