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Song Stories

“Helen Wheels”

Paul McCartney | 1973

A rollicking good-time hard rocker, "Helen Wheels" was not about a woman but about Paul McCartney's Land Rover, the anthemic chorus voicing the vehicle's reckless joy as "she" took to the road. The song was added to the U.S. version of Band on the Run but was issued only as a single in McCartney's native U.K. "I like that because it's a British road song and there's not many of those around," said McCartney. "It's always Route 66. But Carlisle? How many songs have got Carlisle in them?"

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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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