.

Song Stories

“Iron Man”

Black Sabbath | 1971

Despite "Iron Man" containing one of heavy metal's most recognizable guitar riffs -- courtesy of Black Sabbath's mighty mustachioed guitarist, Tony Iommi -- one shouldn't read too much into the song's lyrics, which appear to be about a doomed part-human/part-machine time traveler. "We smoked a lot of dope, so that might be why some of the lyrics are a bit unusual," Iommi recounted in his autobiography. "Like 'Iron Man,' which came from a comic about a robot which became alive." The song continues to resonate in the decades since it was first released: A live version won a Grammy Award in 2000 and could be heard in the end credits of the 2008 action movie about the comic-book superhero of the same name.

prev
Song Stories Main Next

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.

More Song Stories entries »
www.expandtheroom.com