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Song Stories

“Umbrella”

Rihanna feat. Jay-Z | 2007

The digital release of “Umbrella” had the biggest debut in the history of iTunes, but it was almost Britney Spears who got to sing this worldwide Number One song, “ella-ella-ella” hook and all. With Spears’ career spiraling out of control at the time, songwriter and co-producer The-Dream said, “We thought, 'Let's save our friend.' ” But Spears' management brushed them off, and then second choice Mary J. Blige also passed on it, much to the unabashed delight of the Bahamian singer born Robyn Rihanna Fenty. “I'm so thankful for it,” she said. “I prayed for this song.”

Find out what Rihanna says would have been her backup career choice.
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Song Stories

“Long Walk Home”

Bruce Springsteen | 2007

When the subject of this mournful song returns home, he hardly recognizes his town. Springsteen told Rolling Stone the alienation the man feels is a metaphor for life in a politically altered post-9/11 America. “Who would have ever thought we’d live in a country without habeas corpus?” he said. “That’s Orwellian. That’s what political hysteria is about and how effective it is. I felt it in myself. You get frightened for your family, for your home. And you realize how countries can move way off course, very far from democratic ideals.”

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