Lupe Fiasco, Morello to Play Union Festival on RNC's Opening Day

August 6, 2008 2:41 PM ET

Rage Against the Machine will have some company at this year's Republican National Convention, as Lupe Fiasco, Mos Def, Billy Bragg and Rage's Tom Morello will all take part in a Labor Day festival in St. Paul, Minnesota, on the first day of the RNC. The Take Back Labor Day Festival, hosted by the Service Employees International Union, will celebrate workers' achievements and rally around a plan that includes better wages, healthcare and retirement security. Tickets are only $10 and on sale now at Ticketmaster. Hometown rap duo Atmosphere and Steve Earle will also perform at the event, scheduled for September 1st at St. Paul's Harriet Island Regional Park.

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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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