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Bobby Byrd: 1934-2007

September 13, 2007 12:30 PM ET

Bobby Byrd, soul musician and James Brown's longtime sideman, died yesterday of cancer in his home in Loganville, GA. Byrd penned well-known R&B songs like "Hot Pants," and he founded the Famous Flames, Brown's longtime backing band. Byrd can be heard on classic Brown tracks like "Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine." He was seventy-three.

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Song Stories

“Nightshift”

The Commodores | 1984

The year after soul legends Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson died, songwriter Dennis Lambert asked members of the Commodores to give him a tape of ideas. "And the one from Walter Orange has this wonderful bass line," said co-writer Franne Golde. "Plus the lyric, 'Marvin, he was a friend of mine' ... Within 10 minutes, we had decided it should be something like a modern R&B version of 'Rock 'n' Roll Heaven,' and I just said, 'Nightshift.'" This tribute to the recently deceased musicians was the band's only hit without Lionel Richie, who had left for a solo career.

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