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Rockers Send 'Love Letter' to Public Radio

Jack White, My Morning Jacket, the Roots, Phish and more celebrate Public Radio Music Month

Jim James of My Morning Jacket, Questlove of the Roots and Jack White
Scott Legato/WireImage; Johnny Nunez/WireImage; Erika Goldring/GettyImages
April 9, 2012 1:55 PM ET

A group of musicians including Jack White, My Morning Jacket, Death Cab for Cutie, MGMT, M. Ward, the Roots, Tony Bennett, John Mayer and members of Pearl Jam, Phish and Fleet Foxes have penned a "love letter" to public radio as part of Public Radio Music Month.

"Thank you for taking chances," the letter reads. "Thank you for playing our music even when – especially when – it doesn't sound like everything else on the radio dial. Thank you for inviting us into your studios and asking us intelligent questions. Thank you for introducing us to some of the most important music in our lives, music that made us who we are."

Photos: Random Notes

Other artists who signed the letter include Iron and Wine, Jakob Dylan, Chairlift, Bob Mould, Best Coast, Passion Pit, Raphael Saadiq, Shabazz Palaces, Tenacious D, Vernon Reid, the Head and the Heart, Calexico and Glen Hansard. Independent labels Sub Pop, Dead Oceans, Jagjaguwar, Secretly Canadian, and Knitting Factory Records also showed their support.

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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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