Rock & Roll Refugees: 10 People Who Escaped the Music Industry

Layoffs and the business' decline have scattered thousands of employees – so where are they now?

July 22, 2008 11:12 AM ET

The major record labels have laid off more than 5,000 employees since CD sales began plunging in 2000 — and that's not counting all the people who ran screaming from the music business on their own. All asked themselves the same question: Now what? "When you've spent 20 years in the music business, you don't have that many real-life skills," says Debbie Southwood-Smith, a laid-off Interscope Records A&R executive. The answer: teacher, nurse, financial consultant, door captain, stay-at-home parent, realtor, manager of a skateboard star, car dealer. Check out these 10 music-business refugees. READ 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.”

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