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Song Stories

“Girls Just Want to Have Fun”

Cyndi Lauper | 1983

Although Cyndi Lauper's debut single would eventually become a female anthem of the Eighties, she told Rolling Stone she had to alter the lyrics from Robert Hazard's 1979 original, which was sung from a man's perspective. "It was originally about how fortunate he was 'cause he was a guy around these girls that wanted to have 'fun' -- with him -- down there, which we do not speak lest we go blind," she said. The "Girls" video told of her repressed childhood and featured a colorful cast of characters, including pro wrestling manager Lou Albano as her father alongside her real mother.

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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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