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Nostalgia Songs for Memorial Day

Listen to our playlist of memory-jogging tunes about lives and loves gone by

May 25, 2012 1:10 PM ET

Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer, and a time to look forward to warm weather, cook-outs, days at the beach and cutting out of work early on Fridays. But Memorial Day is a holiday of remembrance, so it's also a chance to reflect on the past. In honor of this transitional weekend, we've created a playlist of 20 nostalgia-themed songs – including tributes to flings from Pulp, the Four Seasons, Michael Jackson, LaBelle and the Cure, memories of bygone eras from Bryan Adams and Smashing Pumpkins, a look back at the golden age of hip-hop from Del the Funky Homosapien and more. Listen on Spotify, fire up the barbecue and think of the good times.

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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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