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Week in Rock History: Elvis Costello Defies 'Saturday Night Live'

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December 14, 2003: Ozzy and Kelly Osbourne reach Number One in the U.K. with "Changes"
Before Ozzy and his outspoken daughter topped the charts with their duet, a markedly different father-daughter team held the same achievement: Frank and Nancy Sinatra, in 19667.

"Changes" was a remake of a track originally appearing on Black Sabbath's 1972 album Volume IV (and reinterpreted as an Ozzy solo track in 1993). The mournful ballad was comparatively gentle for the heavy metal pioneers, and the group rarely performed it live. Three decades later, Ozzy and his daughter – who were both incredibly famous from the previous year's debut of their reality show, The Osbournes – rerecorded it with revised lyrics. It was released that year as an added track on Changes, the rerelease of Kelly's 2002 debut album, Shut Up.

December 14, 2006: Ahmet Ertegün dies
Ahmet Ertegün, the founder and president of Atlantic Records, shaped the careers of many of rock's original superstars.

Ertegün, the son of a Turkish diplomat, was raised in Washington, D.C., where he frequented the jazz clubs of the area and amassed a staggering collection of albums and EPs. He called on that soulful education when he founded Atlantic Records in 1947 (with partner Herb Abramson), which signed many of the most heralded jazz musicians of the era, including John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman and Charlie Mingus. The executive's tastes expanded with the times, and he signed superstar after superstar: Aretha Franklin, the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and Crosby, Stills and Nash (for the latter, Ertegün prophetically convinced them to allow Neil Young to join the group). He also served as a main founder of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and its museum.

Two months before Ertegün died, the lifelong music lover sustained a brain injury when he fell backstage at a Rolling Stones concert that honored President Bill Clinton's 60th birthday. He slipped into a coma and died later, at age 83. In 2007, Led Zeppelin reunited for a single show in tribute to their former label boss.

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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.

More Song Stories entries »
 
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