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Song Stories

“Jessie's Girl”

Rick Springfield | 1981

Rick Springfield manager Joe Gottfried made a deal with producer Keith Olsen: If Olsen produced two of Springfield's songs, Gottfried would build him a studio. Once the deal was made, Springfield -- who had turned to acting in soap operas as his musical career faltered -- gave Olsen several demos, and one song stood out. "I never really thought of it as a single," said Springfield. "I thought there were better songs on the album, actually." Though the song is about a guy who falls for his best friend's woman, in real life, "Jessie" was a fellow art class student Springfield didn't know that well.

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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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