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Song Stories

“Party in the U.S.A.”

Miley Cyrus | 2009

Originally co-written by English artist Jessie J for her own use, "Party in the U.S.A." was repurposed for Miley Cyrus to reflect her intimidating move from Nashville to Hollywood. The dance-pop song peaked at Number Two on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming the former Disney star's biggest hit to date. Her performance of "Party" at the 2009 Teen Choice Awards was met with controversy when a scantily clad then-16-year-old Cyrus did a suggestive pole dance. She once described the track, whose accompanying music video riffs off the 1978 film Grease, as "an all-American song … about my roots."

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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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