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    13 Behind-The-Scenes Song Facts That Might Clear Up Some Rumors And Burning Curiosities You Have

    Alicia Keys wrote "If I Ain't Got You" when she heard about Aaliyah's tragic death.

    1. Alanis Morissette's legendary '90s anthem, "You Oughta Know", is not about Dave Coulier, aka Uncle Joey, from Full House.

    Morisette and Coulier posing for a picture in the early '90s together
    HBO Max

    In HBO's documentary series, Music Box, Alanis Morissette discussed the ongoing rumor that started in 1995. In the 2021 episode titled "Jagged Little Pill," Morissette revealed: "It's funny, because I was dating so many more people than [Dave Coulier], but because of 'You Oughta Know' and people saying it was about Dave Coulier, all of the attention was like: 'She dated one person!' There's been about eight people who've claimed that the song is about them, and I'm always just like, 'Who is this? Interesting that you think this song is about you, huh?'"

    Morissette in her "You Oughta Know" music video
    Maverick / Reprise

    26 years earlier in Billboard, Morissette talked about the emotional experience of recording "You Oughta Know" (instead of focusing on the distracting rumor). She said: "I wasn't aware of what was coming out of me. I'd go in the booth when the ink wasn't even dry and sing. I'd listen the next day and not really remember it."

    Listen to "You Oughta Know" by Alanis Morissette here:

    View this video on YouTube

    Maverick / Reprise / Via youtube.com

    2. "Umbrella" by Rihanna and Jay-Z is actually about God.

    Rihanna in her "Umbrella" music video
    Def Jam / SRP

    The song's co-writer, The-Dream, initially wrote it for Britney Spears during a difficult time in her career in the late 2000s. He said: "Britney was starting to work on [Blackout], and her personal life was a little out of control. We thought: 'Let's save our friend — let's give her a record.'"

    Spears performing at the MTV VMAs in 2007; The Dream at "TRL" in 2007
    John Shearer / Scott Gries / Getty Images

    Allegedly someone on Spears' team turned down the song without her knowing.

    Rihanna ultimately recorded "Umbrella" and made the song an instant classic. The-Dream claimed he was "thinking about God" at first when penning the hit. "Like, God would say, 'I've got you under my umbrella. I'll protect you.'"

    Rihanna in her "Umbrella" music video
    Def Jam / SRP

    Listen to "Umbrella" by Rihanna and Jay-Z here:

    View this video on YouTube

    Def Jam / SRP / Via youtube.com

    3. Queen's "We Will Rock You" was written specifically for their fans. One night after a concert was over in England, Queen fans stayed and serenaded the band with a song.

    Queen posing for a portrait in 1973
    Michael Putland / Getty Images

    Brian May, Queen's lead guitarist, said: "We did an encore and then went off, and instead of just clapping, they sang 'You'll Never Walk Alone' to us, and we were just completely knocked out and taken aback. It was quite an emotional experience, really, and I think these chant things are in some way connected to that...I went to bed thinking: 'What could you ask them to do?'"

    Queen in their 'We Will Rock You" music video in the late '70s
    EMI / Elektra

    "They're all squeezed in there, but they can clap their hands, they can stamp their feet, and they can sing," said May. "In the morning, I woke up and had the idea in my head for 'We Will Rock You.'"

    Listen to "We Will Rock You" by Queen here:

    View this video on YouTube

    EMI / Elektra / Via youtube.com

    4. "Like a Virgin" by Madonna is not about her having sex for the first time — it's actually about the thrill of falling in love again.

    MTV

    One of the cowriter's of the massive '80s hit, Billy Steinberg, revealed the song wasn't written with Madonna in mind. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, he said: "I was saying that I may not really be a 'virgin' — I've been battered romantically and emotionally like many people — but I'm starting a new relationship, and it just feels so good. It's healing all the wounds and making me feel like I've never done this before because it's so much deeper and more profound than anything I've ever felt."

    Madonna in her "Like a Virgin" music video
    Sire / Warner Bros.

    24 years after "Like a Virgin" was released, Madonna said in an interview with Z100 she was sick of performing the song on tour: "I'm not sure I can sing 'Holiday' or 'Like a Virgin' ever again. I just can't (unless somebody paid me, like, $30 million or something)."

    Madonna sipping a cup of coffee/tea on "Nightline"
    ABC

    Listen to "Like a Virgin" by Madonna here:

    View this video on YouTube

    Sire / Warner Bros. / Via youtube.com

    5. "Oops (Oh My)" by Tweet is NOT about masturbation — it's actually about being confident in your body and your mind.

    Tweet in her "Oops (Oh My)" music video
    The Goldmind / Elektra

    The song's cowriter, Missy Elliott, revealed the true meaning behind the song on Twitter in 2021. Elliott tweeted: "#FunFact this song was never 'bout masturbation — it was always about [Tweet] appreciating her dark skin (self-love) when she looked in the mirror. It was the listeners who thought it was about sex and just ran with it. We just let the consumers' minds create what they wanted."

    Tweet and Elliott at an MTV VMA after party in 2003
    WireImage / Getty Images

    Listen to "Oops (Oh My)" by Tweet here:

    View this video on YouTube

    The Goldmind / Elektra / Via youtube.com

    6. Katy Perry recently revealed on American Idol that the actual lyrics to the chorus of "Firework" are "Awe, awe, awe," NOT "Oh, oh, oh." So, yes: We've been singing it wrong the whole time!

    Perry in her "Firework" music video
    Capitol

    On American Idol, Perry corrected Luke Bryan when he started singing the chorus wrong. She said: "It's not, 'Up, up, up' and not, 'Uh, uh, uh.' It's, 'Awe, awe, awe' — A-W-E." Bryan wittingly asked if "awe" was in the dictionary, and Perry responded with a firm, "Yes, it is."

    Katy Perry and Luke Bryan on "American Idol"
    Fox / @katyperry / Via instagram.com

    "Firework" was also inspired by Jack Kerouac's classic 1957 novel On the Road. Katy Perry uploaded a specific passage that inspired the hit on her Instagram.

    Passage from "On the Road" that reads: "The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved..."
    @katyperry / Via instagram.com

    Listen to "Firework" by Katy Perry here:

    View this video on YouTube

    Capitol / Via youtube.com

    7. "Moonlight" by Jay-Z from his album 4:44 is about the Best Picture incident at the 2017 Oscars, and how La La Land was announced the winner when really Moonlight won the golden statue.

    Barry Jenkins accepting the Best Picture win: "Very clearly, even in my dreams, this could not be true"
    ABC

    In an iHeart Radio interview in 2017, Jay-Z explained the significance behind every song on 4:44. When it came down to "Moonlight," he revealed: "The hook is 'We stuck in La La Land, even if we win, we gonna lose.' It's like a subtle nod to La La Land winning the Oscar, and then having to give it to Moonlight. It's really a commentary on the culture and where we're going."

    Jay-Z at an event in New York City in 2019
    Kevin Mazur / Getty Images

    Jay-Z's music video for "Moonlight," starring famous actors like Issa Rae, Tessa Thompson, and LaKeith Stanfield, adds additional commentary to "the culture." It essentially illustrates how Friends was the "winning sitcom" of the '90s, when in reality, the premise was stolen from Living Single.

    The cast of "Living Single" posing for a portrait; The cast of "Friends" posing for a portrait
    Warner Bros. / Courtesy of Everett Collection / NBC / Courtesy of Everett Collection

    Listen to "Moonlight" by Jay-Z here:

    View this video on YouTube

    Roc Nation / Via youtube.com

    8. Ricky Martin's 1999 smash "Livin' la Vida Loca" is the first song in music history to be recorded digitally (with zero use of analog) to hit Number 1.

    Martin posing for a picture in 1997
    Tim Roney / Getty Images

    "Livin' la Vida Loca's" cowriter, Desmond Child, said: "We were the first to record and mix a record [in] what they called 'in the box' in Pro Tools. One of the things about that new sound of digital, it had a kind of metallic sound, and to compensate for that metallic sound, we made it drier than Latin music had ever been (which is more like ambient dance music)."

    Ricky Martin in his "Livin' la Vida Loca" music video
    Columbia

    This hit changed the approach to music recording forever, according to Child. "We got [Ricky Martin's] voice right in everybody's face. It really worked, and from that moment on, nothing has ever sounded like it used to sound."

    Fox

    Listen to "Livin' la Vida Loca" by Ricky Martin here:

    View this video on YouTube

    Columbia / Via youtube.com

    9. Stephanie Beatriz, who plays Mirabel Madrigal in the iconic Disney movie Encanto, recorded "Waiting on a Miracle" while she was going into labor.

    Mirabel singing "Waiting on a Miracle:" "Bless me now, as you've blessed us all those years ago"
    Disney

    In a recent interview with Variety, Beatriz revealed: "I didn't want to tell anybody at Disney because I didn't want anyone to freak out. But, I was already having some contractions when we were scheduled to record that day — I was like, 'Well, fingers crossed I finish the song before [the baby] comes!'"

    Variety reported that Beatriz's daughter was born the day after she recorded "Waiting on a Miracle" (a miracle indeed!!!)

    Young Maribel holding the lit candle in "Encanto"
    Disney

    Listen to "Waiting on a Miracle" by Stephanie Beatriz for Encanto here:

    View this video on YouTube

    Disney / Via youtube.com

    10. Dolly Parton used her acrylic nails to write "9 to 5" because she believed they sounded like a typewriter.

    Parton in her "9 to 5" music video
    RCA Nashville

    Parton reflected on her time writing the title track for 9 to 5 on The Tonight Show in 2019, telling Jimmy Fallon: "When I wrote this song, I used my acrylic nails on the set. I did because they make noise, and it kind of sounded like a typewriter to me. And I played it on the actual record — it says 'Nails by Dolly' on the album!"

    Parton on "The Tonight Show" in 2019
    NBC

    Listen to "9 to 5" by Dolly Parton here:

    View this video on YouTube

    RCA Nashville / Via youtube.com

    11. The inspiration behind "Closer" by the Chainsmokers and Halsey is Blink-182, and other 2000s rock bands, who were candid when it came to writing their lyrics.

    Andrew Taggart and Halsey in their "Closer" music video
    Disruptor / Columbia

    In the second verse of the song, Taggart makes a direct shoutout to Blink-182: "Stay and play that Blink-182 song / That we beat to death in Tucson."

    According to Drew Taggart (one half of the electric pop duo), "We had been listening to all this Blink-182 and Dashboard Confessional — all these guys who just kind of tell it how it is."

    Tom DeLonge in Blink-182's "I Miss You" music video
    Geffen / Island

    And when it came down to writing "Closer", the Chainsmokers took that inspiration and let it flow into their lyrics. Taggart said: "I want to do a song kind of very visual that's an unsexy sex scene, and I want to talk to someone that I'm [not] in love with, [but that] I'm indifferent to. The song's a culmination of pretty much all my ex-girlfriends and all my old friends."

    The Chainsmokers and Halsey at the 2016 AMAs
    Kevin Mazur / Getty Images

    Listen to "Closer" by the Chainsmokers and Halsey here:

    View this video on YouTube

    Disruptor / Columbia / Via youtube.com

    12. Alicia Keys wrote "If I Ain't Got You" on a plane immediately after she found out that Aaliyah had died in a plane crash.

    Keys in her "If I Ain't Got You" music video
    J

    In an interview for The Voice in 2017, Keys said, "I wrote it right after I found out that Aaliyah passed away, and I was on a plane. I think being on the plane and knowing that she passed away after a plane crash — there was just this sentiment of being present in the moment and really nothing else mattering but those you love."

    Aaliyah posing for a picture in the late '90s
    Sal Idriss / Redferns / Getty Images

    Keys got candid about the difficult production process behind "If I Ain't Got You," and how it turned out to be one of her favorite songs. She said, "I remember I wrote it really fast, but in order to produce it the way that you hear it, it took forever. Every arrangement that I did was wrong. You never really know what's gonna come of them, [and] you never know who's gonna fall in love with them."

    Listen to "If I Ain't Got You" by Alicia Keys here:

    View this video on YouTube

    J / Via youtube.com

    13. And Harry Styles wrote "Falling" in just a shower towel with Fine Line songwriter and producer, Kid Harpoon, in only 20 minutes.

    Columbia / Erskine

    In an interview for Apple Music, Styles said it took him only 20 minutes to write the emotional ballad "Falling": "I was going out for dinner and I was getting picked up from [Kid Harpoon's] house. As I came out of the shower, he was playing. I went and stood next to him at the piano, just in a towel, and we just wrote the whole thing."

    Styles in his "Falling" music video
    Columbia / Erskine

    Styles talked candidly about his emotional state while writing "Falling", claiming that while he was recording Fine Line, "The times when I felt good and happy were the happiest I've ever felt in my life, and the times when I felt sad were the lowest I've ever felt in my life."

    Styles at the 2021 Grammys
    Anthony Pham / Getty Images

    Listen to "Falling" by Harry Styles here:

    View this video on YouTube

    Columbia / Erskine / Via youtube.com

    Do *you* have any fun song facts up your sleeve? Share with us in the comments below!