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Song Stories

“Goodbye to Love”

The Carpenters | 1972

"The Carpenters" and "fuzz guitar solo" are two phrases that do not exactly go hand in hand. But for one brief moment, the two coexisted merrily in the soft-rock universe. The title "Goodbye to Love" came from a fictional tune mentioned, but never heard, in the 1940 film Rhythm on the River, but session guitarist Tony Peluso's hard-rock solo was anything but old-fashioned. "I'm thinking: 'What would be right?' I played something that was very soft and easy; I tried to stay out of the way," Peluso said. "Richard [Carpenter] said, 'No, no, no, not like that. Play the melody for five bars and then burn it up! Soar off into the stratosphere. Go for it!'"

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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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