Song Stories

“Ace of Spades”

Motorhead | 1980

Motörhead's most renowned anthem is the title track from their 1980 album, Ace of Spades. And the song's title should clue you in on what the song is about, as growler/bassist Lemmy Kilmister explains, "Most of the song's just poker, really: 'I know you've got see me read 'em and weep,' 'Dead man's hand again, aces and eights' - that was Wild Bill Hickock's hand when he got shot." Motörhead would perform "Ace of Spades" on an episode of the British television comedy, The Young Ones, which originally aired on May 8, 1984.

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Song Stories


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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