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Song Stories

“Bright Lights Big City”

Jimmy Reed | 1961

Using the relaxed blues shuffle common to many of his recordings, Jimmy Reed's "Bright Lights Big City" good-naturedly laments how urban glitz has gone to his baby's head. This was one of five songs the Rolling Stones chose to record for a demo they recorded in March 1963 shortly before issuing their first single, although they did not include it on any of their official releases. Harmonizing with Reed is his wife Mary, whom he credited with having "started helpin' me write that thing, word for word."

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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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