VH1’s Top 50 Musical Muses

Lyric obsessives like us are always parsing through lines and phrases of songs to get a better understanding of our favorite musicians. What inspires them? What causes them consternation? Who do they constantly dream of having sex with? Well, we’ll let you in on a little secret: Musicians are just like us! They interact with people in their everyday lives that they end up thinking about on a pretty constant basis. Friends, co-workers, loves, fantasy objects — these interactions, either real or imagined, with all of these types of individuals have provided the inspirado for a number of our favorite songs of all-time.

The VH1 Tuner team compiled this list that’s dedicated to those who inspired some of our favorite tracks of all-time: Our Top 50 Musical Muses. From steamy, illicit affairs (Amy Winehouse wrote “Me And Mr. Jones” about Nas!) to bitter breakups (Full House star Dave Coulier is still catching heat for being the target of Alanis Morrissette’s “You Oughta Know”), from blatantly obvious dedications (Toto naming their Rosanna Arquette ode “Rosanna”) to coded sexual dedications (Did you know that Beyoncé’s “Ego” is about Jay-Z’s package?), this list is guaranteed to give you new insight into some of history’s most popular songs.

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SONG: “Ego”
ARTIST: Beyonce
I mean, have you LISTENED to the words? “It’s too big / It’s too wide / It’s too strong / It won’t fit.” Hmmm, what else could Bey be singing about besides Jay’s junk?—MDG

SONG: “All Too Well”
ARTIST: Taylor Swift
MUSICAL MUSE: Jake Gyllenhaal

Mere seconds after this song off Taylor’s RED leaked, it rocketed to the top of the All-Time Harshest Kiss-Off Tracks Of All-Time list. Our own Kate Spencer did some exhaustive analysis proving that “All Too Well” is about Jake Gyllenhaal, which gives additional emotional resonance to lines like “Hey, you call me up again just to break me like a promise / So casually cruel in the name of being honest.” (At least for those of us that read US Weekly!)—MDG

[Photo Credit: Getty Images/US Magazine]

SONG: “Me And Mr. Jones” (2006)
ARTIST: Amy Winehouse

The “Mr. Jones” in the title refers to Nasir Jones, better known as Nas, who shares her birthday (“9 and 14″, September 14th). Although they two hadn’t met at the time she recorded the song, they became great friends in the wake of it, and collaborated on several tracks together.—J.R.

[Photo: Getty Images]

SONG: “Kim” (2000)
ARTIST: Eminem

The rapper’s relationship with his estranged wife/baby mama was notoriously dysfunctional. And on this blistering track, Em let out a torrent of rage-filled, murderous verbal abuse — he even pretended to slit Kim’ throat, and then screeched, “Bleed, bitch, bleed!” Ah, young love.—T.W.

[Photos: Getty Images]

SONG: “Sweet Caroline” (1971)
ARTIST: Neil Diamond
MUSICAL MUSE: Caroline Kennedy

It’s odd for a sporting events classic to be inspired by a president’s daughter, but here we are. Apparently, the soft rock crooner wrote the track for Caroline Kennedy, JFK’s little girl, who was eleven years old at the time (creepy?). We do love that he serenaded her with a version of the song at her 50th birthday party in 2007.—T.W.

[Photos: Getty Images]

SONG: “Don’t Speak” (1996)
ARTIST: No Doubt

Legendary frontwoman Gwen Stefani wrote this breakup song about her ex-boyfriend Kanal, who also happened to be her bandmate. We can’t imagine how <em>awk</em> this situation must have been for her — performing next to the guy who dumped you after seven years! — but at least it spawned one of the biggest smashes of the decade!—T.W.

[Photo: Getty Images]

SONG: “Red Headed Woman”
ARTIST: Bruce Springsteen
MUSICAL MUSE: Patti Scialfa

Bruce Springsteen cataloged the emotional fallout from his divorce from supermodel Julianne Phillips on the devastating Tunnel Of Love, but by the time he got around to performing on MTV Unplugged in 1993, he had moved on to the woman that would become the love of his life: His flame-haired, E-Street Band soulmate Patti Scialfa. He dedicated the opening song of that set to his wife, a song that contains some lewd (by the Boss’ standards, anyway) descriptions of what it’s like to “get your tires rotated” by a red headed woman.—MDG

[Photo Credit: Getty Images]

SONG: “A Long December”
ARTIST: Counting Crows
MUSICAL MUSE: Courteney Cox

It seems impossible to believe now, but there was a period of time in the mid-90s where Counting Crows lead singer Adam Duritz was Hollywood’s most eligible bachelor. After dumping Jennifer Aniston, Duritz went on to date her Friends co-star Courteney Cox and penned this romantic, “come visit me PLEASE” love song for her. Cox returned the favor by appearing in the music video. (Watch the video for “A Long December”)—MDG

[Photo Credit: Geffen Records/VEVO]

SONG: “It’s About Time”
ARTIST: The Lemonheads
MUSICAL MUSE: Juliana Hatfield

We know for a fact that Evan Dando and Juliana Hatfield have been both friends and bandmates, but rumors about them being lovers have swirled around the pair since the alternative rock boom of the early 90s. “It’s About Time” was a song that many theorized was penned as an attempt for Dando to get Hatfield, who had somewhat infamously proclaimed herself as a virgin, into the sack. Dando didn’t put it quite that way when he played the song for acoustic for MTV, instead declaring “It’s about Juliana Hatfield. Myself and my friend are trying to write her autobiography.”—MDG

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