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Song Stories

“Sherry”

The Four Seasons | 1962

The Four Seasons' plea to "Sherry" to come out tonight rocketed to Number One when it gave the group their first hit in 1962, highlighted by Frankie Valli's stratospherically high and shrill falsetto vocals. Four Seasons keyboardist Bob Gaudio wrote it in just 15 minutes as he was leaving for a rehearsal. "I drove down to rehearsal humming it, trying to keep it in my mind," he remembered. "I had no intention of keeping the lyrics. To my surprise, everybody liked the lyrics, so we didn't change anything."

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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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