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In the Studio: Flaming Lips Add Magic to 'Mystics'

The band's eleventh album due in January

July 28, 2005

We were recording big, epic songs," says Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne, "and somebody told us we sounded like Queen." inspired by the comparison, the band recorded "Bohemian Rhapsody" for a covers disc and started channeling the spirit of Freddie Mercury and Co. in the studio. One of the Queen-inspired tracks, "The Wand," is a rare foray into political music, albeit of the extremely trippy variety. "When the election happened, I tried to remind people that we still have power within ourselves," says Coyne. "There's this homeless guy around here who thinks he can do magic things with his cane. Sometimes the belief empowers you more than your actual ability." After two years of work, the CD will come out early next year. "At some point you need a deadline," says Coyne. "That's how the Hoover Dam got built."

This story is from the July 28th, 2005 issue of Rolling Stone.


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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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