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Sony Pulls Dylan Classic

September 13, 1997 12:00 AM ET

Last week Sony Records had to pull 5,000 copies of Biograph, a three-CD compilation of Dylan's hits and rare tracks. Within days of Biograph hitting stores, Sony realized that technical problems had occurred during the mastering of a few songs.

To begin with, the first spoken-line of "Baby, Let Me Follow You Down" was omitted. Then the label realized it used the wrong version of "I Don't Believe You." The song was supposed to be taken from Dylan's 1966 live performance in Belfast, Northern Ireland, but instead Sony used the version from a show in Manchester, England. A third problem arose on "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight." A 30-year-old original master had been used for the first time since it was created and the end of the song was different than the way it had been originally done.

Fortunately fans who bought the new version of Biograph now have a collectors' item. Unfortunately for Sony, they have to re-issue the set now a third time. The set was first issued in a cardboard box in 1985, and Sony decided to re-issue the collection as a 2-CD jewel case.

In related news, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced they will pay tribute to Dylan at the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors Dec. 7. The event takes place at the Kennedy Center Opera House in Washington D.C.

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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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