Song Stories

“On the Road Again”

Willie Nelson | 1980

The Red Headed Stranger wrote his signature song for a movie he also starred in. "I was on a plane with Sydney Pollack and Jerry Schatzberg and we were talking about doing the movie Honeysuckle Rose," Nelson recalled. "They said, 'Can you come up with a song for the movie?' and I said, 'Oh, you mean something about, you know, "On the road again, on the road again, just can't wait to get on the road again"?' And they said, 'Yes, but where's the melody?' I said, 'Well, I'll find one.'"

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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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