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Julian Casablancas Gifts Fans "SNL" Christmas Song on MySpace

November 5, 2009 4:58 PM ET

We're more than a month away from Christmas, but Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas is feeling charitable this week. First, he released his solo album Phrazes for the Young, then he posted his upcoming Xmas single a month and 20 days early on his MySpace Music page. "Everyone seems to do a Christmas song at some point, so I always said to myself I'd do that song," Casablancas told the NME. "I now checked that off the list of things to do."

Casablancas bypassed the usual "Jingle Bells" and Christmas in the Heart fare by choosing to cover "I Wish It Was Christmas Today," a little Devo-infused slice of holiday glee originally performed by Horatio Sans, Chris Kattan, Jimmy Fallon and Tracy Morgan on Saturday Night Live (Watch the original up top.) An odd choice — who knew Julian was such an SNL fan? — but Casablancas makes it work by adding a little Strokes flavor and doubling the original version's runtime. Speaking of the Strokes, the last time Casablancas spoke about his band, he reported they were divided over the progress of their fourth album.

A 7'' inch limited-edition vinyl of "I Wish It Was Christmas Today" will be released December 21st, with a digital download also promised.

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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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