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Song Stories

“U Can't Touch This”

MC Hammer | 1990

Aided by the video featuring MC Hammer's slinky dance moves and parachute pants, this self-aggrandizing hip-hop song had fans everywhere declaring, "Stop — Hammer time!" Yet, other well-known rappers criticized Hammer for poor rapping. And Rick James hated the song, which sampled his funk classic "Super Freak." "Hell, no, I wasn't impressed with that s--t," he said. James said he would have refused Hammer had he personally requested to use the song — even though it earned James huge royalties and his only Grammy. "After that, I told my people that I didn't want any more rappers using my stuff."

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Song Stories

“Road to Nowhere”

Talking Heads | 1985

A cappella harmonies give way to an a fuller arrangement blending pop and electro-disco on "Road to Nowhere," but the theme remains constant: We're on an eternal journey to an undefined destination. The song vaulted back into the news a quarter century after it was a hit when Gov. Charlie Crist used it in his unsuccessful 2010 campaign for the U.S. Senate in Florida. "It's this little ditty about how there's no order and no plan and no scheme to life and death and it doesn't mean anything, but it's all right," Byrne said with a chuckle.

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