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"Anji" Guitarist Davy Graham Dead at 68

December 17, 2008 9:00 AM ET

Folk guitarist Davy Graham, a major influence on artists like Led Zeppelin and Simon & Garfunkel, passed away on December 15th at the age of 68. According to Graham's manager, the fingerstyle guitar great was diagnosed with lung cancer only a few weeks ago and suffered a seizure. With his 1962 debut EP 3/4 AD, Graham introduced his most famous composition, the instrumental "Anji," a song that was later covered by Simon & Garfunkel for their Sounds of Silence album. Graham's "She Moved Thru the Fair" also reportedly heavily influenced Jimmy Page on the Yardbirds' (and later Led Zeppelin's) "White Summer," even though Graham didn't receive a song credit. A private service for Graham will be held this week, with a public memorial planned for January.

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

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