.

Song Stories

“Marquee Moon”

Television | 1977

That Television knocked out this 10-minute punk masterpiece in a single take underscores the raw, warts-and-all New York 1970s underground aesthetic. In many ways, "Marquee Moon" was the anti-song: It ran long, it lacked a chorus, it defied melody and, perhaps most telling, it never charted. Yet Television captured a beauty, its anarchic structure built on Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd's dueling electric-guitar jangle. It was disciplined disorder, and drummer Billy Ficca assumed the band was only rehearsing. When producer Andy Johns suggested another take, Verlaine refused. "I said, 'Forget it,'" he told Rolling Stone.

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