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Song Stories

“Let It Go”

Keyshia Cole | 2007

Co-written and produced by Missy Elliott, "Let It Go" was originally intended for the singer Fantasia, not Keyshia. But when Fantasia had to bump the song off her project, Keyshia was quick to snatch it up. "I tried to hurry up past it cause I felt Keyshia wouldn't want it," Elliott explained. "I really didn't know what kind of direction she wanted to go in. But as soon as the chords came on she was like, 'Wait-wait-wait stop! Stop!'" Elliott also raps on the track, along with Lil' Kim.

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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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