.

Song Stories

“Runaway”

Del Shannon | 1961

"Runaway" was written during an informal recording session at Detroit's Hi-Lo Club. "I hit a series of chords, and Del said, 'Let's build something,'" recalled keyboardist and co-writer Max Crook. "He was humming a melody, and I put that bridge in" -- the song's notoriously weird keyboard break, played on an electronic keyboard that Crook invented, which he named the Musitron. Shannon wrote lyrics the next day at his day job in a carpet store. Sadly, he killed himself in 1990, despite the fact that he was working on a new album with Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne, and was also rumored to be joining the pair in the Traveling Wilburys as the late Roy Orbison's replacement.

prev
Song Stories Main Next

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.

More Song Stories entries »
www.expandtheroom.com