Song Stories

“Walking on a Thin Line”

Huey Lewis and the News | 1984

One of first mainstream songs to address the trauma vets faced returning from war, it began when songwriter Andre Pessis paid a young Huey Lewis $20 to record a demo of this song for a documentary about the Vietnam War. The song never appeared in the movie, but Lewis did include it on his album Sports a few years later. "This song is about the Vietnam War," Lewis told one crowd. "Although none of us went, we had a lot of friends that did. A lot of people died over there, and a lot of people got real screwed up."

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Song Stories

“Wake Up Everybody”

John Legend and the Roots | 2010

A Number One record by Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes in 1976 (a McFadden- and Whitehead-penned classic sung by Teddy Pendergrass) inspired the title and lead single from Wake Up!, John Legend's tribute album to message music. The more familiar strains of "Wake Up Everybody" also fit his agenda. "It basically sums up, in a very concise way, all the things we were thinking about when we were putting this record together in that it's about justice, doing the right thing and coming together to make the world a better place," he said. Vocalists Common and Melanie Fiona assist Legend on this mission to connect.

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