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Rock & Roll Refugees: 10 People Who Escaped the Music Industry

Layoffs and the business' decline have scattered thousands of employees – so where are they now?

July 22, 2008 11:12 AM ET

The major record labels have laid off more than 5,000 employees since CD sales began plunging in 2000 — and that's not counting all the people who ran screaming from the music business on their own. All asked themselves the same question: Now what? "When you've spent 20 years in the music business, you don't have that many real-life skills," says Debbie Southwood-Smith, a laid-off Interscope Records A&R executive. The answer: teacher, nurse, financial consultant, door captain, stay-at-home parent, realtor, manager of a skateboard star, car dealer. Check out these 10 music-business refugees. READ MORE

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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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