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Song Stories

“Ignition (Remix)”

R. Kelly | 2003

Robert Sylvester Kelly can pack more sexual innuendo into a song than just about anyone. Appearing on the soundtrack to Love Don't Cost a Thing and on his 2003 album Chocolate Factory, he's on the comeback trail here with one of his most popular songs in years. Contrary to the title, this is not a remix, Kelly added "-Remix" to the title to avoid confusion with another song with the same title on Chocolate Factory. Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt made huge waves on the Internet when he did a singer-songwriter version of the song while playing acoustic guitar.

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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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