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Lennox Takes Home Oscar

Rings theme wins Best Original Song

March 1, 2004 12:00 AM ET
Annie Lennox, Fran Walsh and Howard Shore won an Academy Award last night for Best Original Song for "Into the West."

The theme song from Lord of the Rings: Return of the King was part of that film's clean sweep of Oscars, as the final part of the trilogy based on J.R.R. Tolkien's popular cycle won eleven awards.

"West," which was performed by Lennox during the televised proceedings, bested Sting's "You Will Be My Ain True Love" and Elvis Costello's "Scarlet Tide" (both from Cold Mountain, both co-written by T Bone Burnett and both presented by their authors with vocals by Alison Krauss). Also nominated was Michael McKean and Annette O'Tool's "A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow" (from A Mighty Wind, performed by Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara in character as Mitch and Mickey) and Benoit Charest and Sylvain Chomet's "The Triplets of Belleville" from the film of the same name.

Shore was a double winner, as he also took home a Best Original Score Oscar for Rings.

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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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