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Song Stories

“Unchained Melody”

The Righteous Brothers | 1965

Written by famed soundtrack composer Alex North (with Hy Zaret doing lyrics), this evergreen was originally the theme for the prison flick Unchained, but it has gone on to be recorded countless times in more than 100 languages. The Righteous Brothers were not the first to take it to Number One, yet their version, sung by Bobby Hatfield, charted twice, thanks to its appearance in a pivotal scene of the 1990 film Ghost. According to Hatfield, "It was kind of cool because Bill [Medley] was singing lead on all the songs then, so it was like, "Wow, who's that little s--t with the high voice?"

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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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