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Song Stories

“Midnight Rider”

The Allman Brothers Band | 1970

This brooding blues-rock ballad is despairing even by the standards of on-the-run road songs, finding the singer down to his last silver dollar, wearing clothes he doesn't even own. Co-written by Gregg Allman with Allman Brothers roadie Kim Payne, "Midnight Rider" became a hit in the early 1970s for both Joe Cocker and, as a solo recording, Gregg Allman himself. According to Allman, it wasn't written about a specific person but "seemed like the type of thing you'd listen to when you're traveling – I've always kind of dug that."

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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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