Song Stories

“Ziggy Stardust”

David Bowie | 1972

The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars is a concept album that made David Bowie not only a famous singer but also a cult figure. Its title track examines the story’s antihero, an alien rock star who’s come to save the human spirit in the face of Earth’s imminent destruction. But Ziggy got so sidetracked by fame and so blindsided by excess that it eventually led to his own destruction. “I couldn’t decide whether I was writing the characters, or whether the characters were writing me, or whether we were all one and the same,” says David Bowie, who embraced Ziggy as his alter ego at the time.

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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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