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Song Stories

“Louder Than a Bomb”

Public Enemy | 1988

Gangsta rap was the controversial music of the late Eighties, but Public Enemy were creating waves of its own. “That song was simply about the fact that the FBI was tapping my phone,” Chuck D says of “Louder Than a Bomb.” “My phone would go dead between one and two o’clock in the morning every night, even when I got the phone people to fix it. I was saying, ‘I’m not keeping any secrets because everything I’m saying, I’m saying on the record.’” Even though this was one of Chuck’s favorite PE songs, it’s never been performed live.

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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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