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Album: Solitude StandingReleased: 1987Charted:
This is an a cappella song that became a hit in 1990 when the British production duo DNA added a beat and released the remix as a bootleg. The contrast between Vega's subtle vocal and the driving dance rhythm meshed unexpectedly well. Of course, DNA didn't ask Vega's permission, and when Suzanne first heart it, she said she wasn't sure whether she should sue them or congratulate them. She decided against litigation and her record company, A&M, proving that sometimes there's more to be gained without filing a lawsuit, officially released the remix along with other bootleg recordings that had emerged, including one with a German disco flavor and another with a reggae beat.
Suzanne Vega wrote this song while eating breakfast at Tom's Restaurant on the corner of Broadway and 112th Street in New York City. Tom's has another famous place in pop culture as well: it was Jerry Seinfeld's hangout in his hit sitcom Seinfeld
. On the show, where it was called "Monk's Cafe," the "Tom's" was cropped out so the exterior sign just said "Restaurant," and the interior shots were done with TV magic on a sound stage. Check out a photo of Tom's Diner
The song has been sampled many times by other artists, including Tupac for his track "Dopefiend's Diner," Aaliyah on her single "Hot Like Fire" and Drake on a cut titled "Juice."
Giorgio Moroder covered the song for his 2015 Déjà Vu album. His version features vocals by Britney Spears. "The song doesn't have a big range, and I added a bridge and some instrumental stuff," the EDM godfather told Billboard magazine. "Britney sounds so good, you would hardly recognize her."
When German engineers were developing the MP3 file format, they used this song to test their creation, checking for loss of fidelity. They picked an a cappella tune because they were particularly concerned about degrading the human voice.
Fall Out Boy sampled this song and used various elements from it on their 2014 hit "Centuries