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Song Stories

“Heroes”

David Bowie | 1977

Co-written by Bowie and his sometime collaborator Brian Eno, "Heroes" is a paean to an illicit romance so majestic the singer compares himself and his lover to royalty, with an undercurrent suggesting their reign might be quite temporary. Bowie took his cue from watching lovers meet underneath a guard turret at the Berlin Wall, which was within a stone's throw of where the track was recorded. The singer "presumed that they were feeling somewhat guilty about this affair and so they had imposed this restriction on themselves, thereby giving themselves an excuse for their heroic act," Bowie said.

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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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