The Week in Music: Pot in Pop Culture and American Politics; Coachella Festival Aftermath and More

Plus: Live reviews of shows by Paul Simon, PJ Harvey, Elton John and the Stooges

April 22, 2011 4:45 PM ET
The Week in Music: Pot in Pop Culture and American Politics; Coachella Festival Aftermath and More
Tom Hill/WireImage

Rolling Stone celebrated 4/20 this week by digging into the politics of pot in America, as well as its place in popular culture. We counted down the 15 best stoner songs of all time, discussed "offshore" pot smoking with Bill Maher, gave some serious thought to the issue of marijuana reform in the United States and went over the numbers of pot-related statistics.

Photos: The Hottest Live Performances from Coachella 2011

Rolling Stone was also at some of the week's hottest concerts, including the Coachella Festival in Indio, California. You can check out all of our coverage of that event – including exclusive interviews and photos – on our Coachella festival blog. We also caught PJ Harvey's show at Terminal 5 in New York City, Paul Simon's set at the Music Box in Los Angeles, Elton John's free concert at the opening of the Tribeca Film Festival in Manhattan and Iggy and the Stooges' tribute to their late bandmate Ron Asheton in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Hottest Live Photos of the Week

We also talked to director Michael Rapaport regarding his controversial documentary about A Tribe Called Quest, conversed with Jennifer Lopez about American Idol and her forthcoming album, chatted with Tom Petty about his Sirius FM radio show, caught up with Cameron Crowe on his Pearl Jam Twenty documentary and checked in on Anthrax's progress in making their first record in eight years. Plus, Southern rapper Big K.R.I.T. was named our latest Artist to Watch, we analyzed this week's pop charts, looked back on this week in rock history and, as always, we reviewed all the week's biggest new releases.

Photos: Random Notes

On the pop culture front, Peter Travers praised Morgan Spurlock's new documentary, Pom Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, a film about product placement that is very silly and funny but also eye-opening and depressing. Travers also reviewed the glossy but dull Reese Witherspoon vehicle Water for Elephants and the featherweight animated feature Rio. Also, Mallika Rao commented on the contestants' theatrical antics and the dismissal of Stefano Langone on this week's episodes of American Idol and Erica Futterman recapped the latest episode of Glee.

Photos: 'Glee' Season Two

We also posted a gallery of your Top 10 favorite music videos of all time, as determined by your votes on Facebook and Twitter. Our question for you this weekend is: Who is the best R&B/soul singer of all time? You can answer on our website, on facebook.com/rollingstone or on Twitter with the #weekendrock hashtag.

LAST WEEK: Adele Opens Up About Love; Coachella Kicks Off

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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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 »