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Vampire Weekend Sued Over 'Contra' Album Cover

Preppy model wants $2 million in damages

July 16, 2010 9:12 AM ET

When Vampire Weekend released their new album Contra, fans were struck by the mysterious cover art depicting a woman wearing a Polo shirt. Now seven months after the album arrived that woman, Kristen Kennis, has come forward and is suing the band for $2 million dollars, alleging that she did not give permission for her image to appear on the album cover, TMZ reports.

Vampire Weekend originally got approval to use the image from a photographer named Tod Brody, who provided the band with a photo release form that included Kennis' signature. But Kennis insists that the signature is a forgery and has filed suit against the band and Brody in L.A. Superior Court. A rep for Vampire Weekend tells Rolling Stone that the band has no comment at this time.

Keep up with Rolling Stone's latest news in Random Notes.

Earlier this year, Vampire Weekend discussed the mysterious image with MTV. "We know where the image came from, but we're not being very specific about her," frontman Ezra Koenig said. "We don't know her or anything. When we saw this image, we just found it very striking. And part of it is the look on her face. It's not about the color of her hair, or the fact that she's wearing a Polo shirt. What makes it interesting is her face."

According to TMZ, Kerris had no idea that the photograph was being used until well after the band had begun promoting Contra.

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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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