How the Song Came to Be

‘It’s the Real Thing’: When a Coke Ad Inspired 2 Hit Singles

In 1971, the creative director for the beverage’s ad agency wrote down the words “I’d like to buy the world a Coke.” His vision for a new campaign took off

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The Jaggerz’ ‘The Rapper’ @50

“The song was something that I wrote watching people in nightclubs. You’d see these dudes go over and start rapping to chicks,” said the band’s Donnie Iris.

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The Ides of March and the Story of ‘Vehicle’

They took their band name from a Shakespeare classic, their biggest hit from a real-life incident, and they drove their way up the charts in the year 1970.

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Once Upon a Time: Mark Lindsay on the Raiders’ ‘Good Thing’

The group’s lead vocalist talks about writing the hit single with producer Terry Melcher, the wild story of the Los Angeles home they lived in and the Tarantino movie

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Barry McGuire vs. Barry Sadler: When the News Hit #1

One chart-topper listed complaints about the inequities and horrors of the day, while the other was a patriotic paean to the Army’s elite special forces.

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The Gentrys’ ‘Keep on Dancing’: Behind the ’60s Garage Classic

The Memphis septet took an obscure R&B tune and turned it into a top 5 rocker in 1965. The story behind the recording–and the band–is fascinating.

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A-Ha! Unplugged ‘Take on Me’ Transforms the Song

A song you’ve heard countless times; its 1985 video has an astonishing number of views on YouTube. A touching acoustic version transforms the song

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The Beatles’ Forgotten Top 20 Hit: A ‘Sweet’ Story

A top 20 hit in the U.S., yet it has received virtually no radio airplay in decades and is almost never mentioned in accounts of the band’s early days.

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When Motown Went to ‘War’—Edwin Starr’s #1 Hit @50

When Motown’s chief was reluctant to release an antiwar song by the Temptations as a single, another singer stepped in to re-record it. It went to #1.

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They’re Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!

It was bizarre but an instant smash hit. Then there was a backlash. Read the strange tale of Napoleon XIV and hear the song that drove people mad.

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