Week in Rock History: The Beatles Land in New York

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February 5, 1987: Sonny Bono declares his candidacy for mayor of Palm Springs, California
After Sonny Bono repeatedly butted heads with Palm Springs' city planning officials while opening a restaurant, the "I Got You Babe" singer took a different tactic: he decided to run the city.

Bono announced his candidacy for major of his desert hometown in 1987, with talk radio host Marshall Gilbert stepping in as his campaign manager. Despite having no substantial experience in politics, Bono won the election, serving as mayor from 1988 to 1992. During his time in office, he helped found the Palm Springs International Film Festival, which is now an important event in the movie industry.

Bono was elected to Congress as a Republican in 1994 and was reelected in 1996. He died in a skiing accident in 1998, at age 62, and was buried at Desert Memorial Park in Cathedral City, near his beloved Palm Springs.

February 10, 1974: Phil Spector is seriously injured in a mysterious car crash
Troubled, hotheaded producer Phil Spector – he of the legendary "Wall of Sound" pop production technique, who recorded acts ranging from the Ronettes to Leonard Cohen (and put a gun to the latter's head) – was involved in a major car accident in 1974. Though he escaped with his life, he did suffer multiple head wounds and bodily burns and underwent surgery. A statement from his secretary, relayed later in the year to Rolling Stone, expressed confusion as to why Spector had even been in a car en route from Los Angeles to Phoenix or who he had been with during the drive.

The accident left Spector badly scarred, and he underwent plastic surgery. The event heightened his reclusive tendencies, further wrapping the producer in a veil of mystery that would only lift, tragically, when he was convicted for the murder of actress Lana Clarkson in 2009.

Last Week: Janet Jackson Has a Wardrobe Malfunction

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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 »