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Billie Joe Armstrong Writing Songs for Rock Adaptation of Shakespeare

Green Day frontman contributing to Yale Repertory Theater production

Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day.
Chelsea Lauren/WireImage
March 14, 2013 4:55 PM ET

Billie Joe Armstrong is returning to the theater by writing new music for a Yale Repertory Theater adaptation of Shakespeare. According to the New York Times, the Green Day frontman is contributing to These Paper Bullets, a rock adaptation of the Bard's Much Ado About Nothing that follows a band from Liverpool as they navigate romance and the music industry in London. It will premiere in March 2014.

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Armstrong already has musical theater credibility under his belt, having adapted Green Day's American Idiot to Broadway in 2010. Green Day resumed their postponed U.S. tour earlier this month and will stay on the road until their April 19th show in Los Angeles.

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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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