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Song Stories

“I Don't Want to Wait”

Paula Cole | 1998

A former cheerleader, prom queen and backup singer for Peter Gabriel, Cole had a lot to be happy about in the late Nineties. But this living-for-the-moment song was inspired by a sobering time in her life — a final visit with her grandfather in Massachusetts. "I went home to Rockport that summer ... about a week after I arrived, he died," she said. "So that song has his spirit in it." Though Cole has said she really isn't a fan of television, this song was a guaranteed hit once it was chosen as the theme for Dawson's Creek.

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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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