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Never The Twain Shall Meet

Top 10 duet becomes a solo effort thanks to some studio magic

August 7, 1998 12:00 AM ET

Shania Twain, country's reigning bombshell, sure is hard to hold. Just askBryan White, her duet partner on the top ten country radio hit, "From ThisMoment On." Twain and her label, who clearly have their eyes on establishingmore of a mainstream pop following, are ready to take the single to top 40radio later this month. But, like a babe who dumps her date when she arrivesat a swinging party, Twain is going top 40 alone.

How? Twain's husband/producer Mutt Lange simply sat down with the song, worked the knobs, came up with a new re-mix and, voila, no more Bryan White.Suddenly, the duet had morphed into a Twain solo suitable for the masses.

"None of us knew it was going to happen," says Luke Lewis, president ofTwain's label, Mercury Nashville. "Mutt just came up with this magicalversion." That version features more of a flamenco guitar flavor, a reflectionof the fact the song was at one time considered for the soundtrack to TheMask of Zorro.

White himself seems nonplussed by the snub. "They're releasing this song as a pop record, and I'm not a pop artist, so my feelings aren't hurt," he says.White's spokesman at Asylum Records echoes that sentiment, suggesting that thecountry singer's fans are used to more traditional fare any way: "We'vecertainly heard knocking on our door about ["From This Moment On"] being toocontemporary for Bryan's sake. So it's fine if they want to go to top 40without him."

Once a Nashville no-no, Twain has perfected the crossover move, thanks in partto Lange. He was responsible for Def Leppard hits back in the Eighties and hasframed Twain's country beat with irresistible pop sounds. Twain's recentcountry hit, "You're Still the One," peaked all the way at No. 2 on theBillboard Hot 100. Lange even came up with a dance mix of that song, whichcharted on R&B and dance radio stations. "A few people did say that went overthe line," Lewis concedes. "But the song worked."

Whatever Mercury and Twain are doing, it's working. Twain's Come OnOver has sold more copies this year (2.3 million according to SoundScan)than recent releases by Pearl Jam, the Smashing Pumpkins and Van Halen,combined.

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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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