When The Commodores decided to release a tribute to Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson, both of whom died in 1984, the timing seemed right. The group was led by Walter Orange, who took over after Lionel Richie departed, the world of R&B was reeling, especially after Gaye’s murder by his father, and the song gave a sense of calm and pride in the two singers’ accomplishments.
This original is just musical perfection.
What we didn’t know back then, is that we’d get a new version of the song 37 years later – and it would be the sort of audio comfort food we’d need all over again.
Just a few weeks back, Bruce Springsteen announced he’d be releasing an album of the great American songbook of the ’60s and ’70s. Entitled “Only The Strong Survive” (with a cover enclosed of that Jerry Butler track), Bruce does an impeccable job of channeling the vibe, the feel, and the emotion of what made these songs great.
And why does “Nightshift” stand out so well among them? For me, it’s presentation is the perfect pairing of original Commodores music and intention – plus Bruce’s unique, raspy voice, and connection to the music. And, there’s something in the air in a time of unsteady like we’re living in right now, that when you hear an icon like Bruce performing an iconic song like this, it’s comfort food for the ears.
Bruce, thanks for this – we needed it.