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Jay-Z, Alicia Keys Tour New York in "Empire State of Mind" Video

November 2, 2009 12:42 PM ET

Jay-Z's Blueprint 3 single "Empire State of Mind" is inescapable in New York, blaring from car stereos and even Yankee Stadium, where the hometown hero performed the track with Alicia Keys last week. Now the pair have debuted the video for their NYC love letter on MySpace Music. The clip was filmed in early October at several landmark sites around Manhattan, notably Harlem, Times Square and Ground Zero.

Music video vet Hype Williams directed the video, with an obvious nod to black-and-white films like Woody Allen's Manhattan and Jules Dassin's Naked City, two films that perhaps best photographed and documented New York City. The "Empire State of Mind" video goes full color in its final minute to capture the full awe of Keys performing in Times Square and the Manhattan skyline. For a little bonus fun while you watch, check out this Google map tracking the locations Jay rhymes about, from State Street to Tribeca.

Jay debuted the song live at his "Answer the Call" concert at Madison Square Garden on September 11th and performed it again two days later (with Keyes) at MTV's Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall. With the Yankees one win away from winning the championship, their next set might be a victory parade route down 6th Avenue.

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Jay-Z's 9/11 Benefit Turns Into All-Star Marathon With Beyonce, Kanye, Rihanna, Mayer and More

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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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