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Song Stories

“Walk This Way”

Run-D.M.C. | 1986

In the early-to-mid-1980s, the line was firmly drawn between rock and hip-hop. But the wall came tumbling down once producer Rick Rubin persuaded Run-DMC to give Aerosmith's "Walk This Way" a rap makeover. "Run-DMC liked the beat, but they didn't want to sing those words," Rubin told Rolling Stone. "I explained that would defeat the purpose. There were still people who didn't think rap was music. The goal was, here's a song you've heard. And our version isn't so different that theirs is music and ours isn't."

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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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