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His most recent Number One, "The Monster," features bonkers couplets like "Straw into gold chump, I will spin/Rumpelstiltskin in a haystack/Maybe I need a straight jacket, face facts." Like his character in the 2002 biopic 8 Mile, Eminem honed his formidable skills in Detroit rap battles, then polished his rhymes in the studio over springy Dr.Dre tracks that gave him room to freak out as agilely and aggressively as he liked.But he become the American punk-rock poet laureate of the Eighties, reeling off shabbily rousing underdog anthems like "I Will Dare" and "Bastards of Young," as well as beautifully afflicted songs like "Swinging Party" and "Here Comes a Regular." A high-school dropout, Westerberg spoke for a nation of smart, wiseacre misfits, paving the way for Green Day and Nirvana, both of which were led by avowed Replacements fans."Westerberg could be barreling along and do 'Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out' or 'Gary's Got a Boner,' and then he could slide into 'Unsatisfied' or 'Sixteen Blue,' says Craig Finn of the Hold Steady.But that multiplatinum triumph was just the tip of the iceberg: Australian brothers Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb were massively successful songwriters for decades.Elton John has called them "a huge influence on me as a songwriter"; Bono has said their catalog makes him "ill with envy." The Bee Gees' earliest hits ("New York Mining Disaster 1941," "To Love Somebody") were melancholy psychedelia, and their first U. Number One single, "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart," was promptly covered by Al Green."And so I started writing these story songs." A Brooklynite who was equally entranced by R&B and country (claiming his favorite singer was C&W mainstay Tex Ritter), Otis Blackwell began his career with 1953's "Daddy Rollin' Stone," which has been covered repeatedly. And even though Blackwell's own singing career never took off, it's been noted that his vocals on demos of songs that Presley recorded were followed faithfully by the King."At certain tempo, the way Elvis sang was the result of copying Otis' demos," said Blackwell's friend Doc Pomus. Many singer-songwriters reach the point where they have too many great tunes to fit into a live show.
"I have dyslexia, and I've used it to its best advantage." With a talent for wordplay that can be as head-spinning as it is disturbing, and a knack for incessant sing-song choruses that suggest he might've thrived in a Brill Building cubicle, Eminem crams hugely popular songs with more internal rhymes and lyrical trickery than anyone else in contemporary pop.The duo has also penned hits for other artists including SWV's "Can We," Total's "Trippin'" and Tweet's "Call Me." Missy hasn't released a new album for 10 years, but she and Timbaland have dropped hints that they've got something brewing.America first discovered the Bee Gees with the 1977 disco soundtrack Saturday Night Fever.Maybe it's his family's blue-collar background or the years he spent delivering mail before becoming a full-time musician.
But John Prine has always had the innate ability to emphatically capture the highs, lows and occasional laughs of everyday Americans and fringe characters: the drug-addled vet in "Sam Stone," the lonely older folks in "Angel from Montgomery" and "Hello in There." One of a group of early Seventies singer-songwriters to get pegged with the unfortunate tag "New Dylan," Prine has written poignant songs of romantic despair ("Speed of the Sound of Loneliness"), songs that sound like centuries-old mountain ballads ("Paradise") and ribald comic masterpieces aimed at advice columns and various crazies.Tim and Missy started working in earnest as a writing team in 1996, when they collaborated on most of Aaliyah's One in a Million.