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Song Stories

“Coal Miner's Daughter”

Loretta Lynn | 1970

Loretta Lynn was sitting around rehearsing one day when the words "Well, I was born a coal miner’s daughter" came to her. "And I went on from there. I made up the melody at the same time, line by line, like I always do," she said. Lynn had written strong verses for herself but never anything quite as directly personal before. This Number One country hit concerning hardscrabble life in Kentucky mining country would go on to share its title with a book and a film about the singer; her signature tune and life story, all wrapped tight in one prideful song.

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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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