.

Song Stories

“Human Nature”

Michael Jackson | 1982

The track listing of Michael Jackson's mega-classic album Thriller was going to include a song called "Carousel" instead of "Human Nature" until divine intervention occurred. Quincy Jones received a demo from Toto band member Steve Porcaro, and after not being impressed with the first two songs, the legendary producer found the “flavor” he was seeking. “All of a sudden, at the end there was all of this silence. ‘Why ? Why?’ That was all, just a dummy lyric … I said, ‘What the hell is that?’ That’s what took 'Carousel' out.” Jones contacted lyricist John Bettis to complete "Human Nature," which would become the fifth Top 10 hit single pulled from Thriller.

prev
Song Stories Main Next

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 »
www.expandtheroom.com