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Song Stories

“Rockstar”

Nickelback | 2005

In "Rockstar," the multimillionaire Canadians in Nickelback poke fun at the cliched trappings of the excessive rock & roll lifestyle: Playboy playmates, cheap and accessible drugs, hilltop houses and dozens of cars. The song lays out "just crazy, nonsensical things that help paint this picture of someone dreaming about being a rock star," explained frontman Chad Kroeger. "It's what you would also do if you won the lottery. I hope it comes across as us having a lot of fun and, even to some degree, making fun of ourselves." ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons obliges with spoken-word interludes in between the song's verses, and the video includes more than 100 cameos, including Wayne Gretzky, Gene Simmons, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kid Rock and Nelly Furtado.

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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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