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Song Stories

“Eruption”

Van Halen | 1978

Eddie Van Halen's six-string showcase immediately inspired countless guitarists to decorate their instruments in wild stripe designs, purchase Floyd Rose tremolos and learn the two-hand tapping technique. In 2008, Van Halen told Rolling Stone how he came up with the two-hand tap. "I was watching Jimmy Page going [sings hammering guitar lick], like that, with one hand, in 'Heartbreaker.' I thought, 'I can play like that, and you wouldn't know if I was using this finger or this one." Originally a concert warm-up piece for Eddie, "Eruption" earned a spot on the group's debut album after producer Ted Templeman heard it.

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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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