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Exclusive Download: Brian Wilson Covers Buddy Holly

Listen to the Beach Boys mastermind's version of 'Listen to Me'

August 19, 2011 11:25 AM ET
Exclusive Download: Brian Wilson Covers Buddy Holly
James Minchin III

Click here to listen to Brian Wilson's cover of Buddy Holly's "Listen to Me"

Brian Wilson's interpretation of Buddy Holly's classic song "Listen to Me" is a gorgeous merger of Holly's simple, direct melodic phrasing and Wilson's distinct arrangement and production style. The Beach Boys mastermind fills Holly's composition out with angelic harmonies and delicate instrumentation, enough so that some listeners would be forgiven for assuming that it was a Beach Boys tune all along. You can download the track, which will appear on the new Buddy Holly tribute album Listen to Me now, and pre-order the set, which includes covers recorded by Stevie Nicks, Jackson Browne, Ringo Starr, Zooey Deschanel and many others, at Amazon.

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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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