Song Stories

“Under My Thumb”

The Rolling Stones | 1966

Chrissie Shrimpton, Mick Jagger's girlfriend when he wrote the lyrics for this marimba-driven song, has said Jagger was a controlling boyfriend. But Jagger told Rolling Stone the song wasn't written about anyone in particular -- and that it wasn't an anti-feminist song about keeping women in line. "It's a caricature, and it's a reply to a girl who was a very pushy woman," he said. The Stones were performing this song in 1969 when 18-year-old Meredith Hunter, armed with a revolver, was stabbed to death by a Hell's Angel biker hired to perform security at the now-infamous Altamont Free Concert.

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Song Stories


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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