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Song Stories

“Viva la Vida”

Coldplay | 2008

With its sweeping arrangement, "Viva la Vida" became an insta-hit, giving Coldplay their first Number One song in both the United States and United Kingdom. The Spanish title, translated as "long live life," makes reference to an artwork by Frida Kahlo. With its many historical and religious references, it alludes to themes of pain, strength and anti-authoritarianism. At the time, Chris Martin felt it was a make-or-break endeavor for the band. “This could be our last shot at the big time," the singer admitted. "It's something in my head, as in artistic relevance."

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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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