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Blues Legend Junior Wells In Coma; Near Death

September 11, 1997 12:00 AM ET

On a sad note, the blues world may soon be mourning legendary Blues harmonica player, Junior Wells. Wells slipped into a coma Tuesday in a Chicago hospital after suffering a heart attack last Friday. Several weeks ago, Wells, 62, underwent treatment for lymphoma and was checked back into the hospital. While there, he started suffering from fainting spells. Valerie Thorson, a spokeswoman for Telarc International, Wells' label, said doctors discovered there was no brain activity and decided to remove Wells from life support. His manager, Marty Salzman, said doctors reported that Wells is breathing on his own, but there's no good prognosis. They don't think he'll recover from the coma. Only time will tell.

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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.”

More Song Stories entries »
 
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