Song Stories

“Lucky Now”

Ryan Adams | 2011

Ryan Adams originally named the song “Chris,” after Chris Feinstein, the recently deceased bass player in his backing band the Cardinals. Also, in the final version, he replaced the song's initial rawness with a sense of immediacy. “It was too raw,” Adams said. “And I think the idea was that you have to sing this and it has all of this emotional energy in it and you don’t want to write something or put something out that can fuse out. So I really learned this time. It’s almost like if the song has too much personal information, it’s almost kind of like a perishable and you can only leave it out for so long before it’s gonna get weird to you or sour.”

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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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