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Michael Franti Does Politics, Impressions at Rothbury

July 6, 2008 1:30 AM ET

Throughout his late-afternoon Rothbury set with Spearhead, Michael Franti displayed a knack for impressions that would put Dave Coulier to shame. During an amped-up cover of Sublime's "What I Got," the singer dropped a few bars of "The Rainbow Connection" in his best Kermit the Frog voice and briefly channeled Cookie Monster as he chanted "C is for cookie." It wasn't all fun and games, though. A pair of politically charged songs from his forthcoming record (All Rebel Rockers, out on Anti- this September) — the hard-hitting reggae riddims of "Remote Control" and the comparatively peaceful "Hey World" — found the singer laying out his views for a New World Order.

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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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