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Song Stories

“Lonely Teardrops”

Jackie Wilson | 1958

If Jackie Wilson had known how prophetic the lyrics to "Lonely Teardrops" would be, he may have decided to pass on the song altogether. Co-written by Berry Gordy, who would later start the Motown record label, this song became Wilson's first Number One R&B single. But in an odd twist of fate, Wilson was singing this song at a casino in 1975, and right after he sang the lines "My heart is crying," the singer collapsed on stage from a heart attack and fell into a coma, which persisted until he passed away nine years later.

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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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