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Song Stories

“Shock Me”

Kiss | 1977

Shortly after Kiss' performance got under way on December 12, 1976 at the Lakeland Civic Center (in Lakeland, Florida), guitarist Ace Frehley grabbed a railing leading down a flight of stairs to the stage that wasn't grounded properly. He immediately received a jolt of electricity that knocked him unconscious. "I got electrocuted in Florida and I survived. The guys said, 'Why don't you write a song about getting electrocuted?' And I came up with 'Shock Me.'" Despite having already penned several tunes for Kiss up to that point ("Cold Gin," "Parasite," "Strange Ways," etc.), it was not until "Shock Me" that Frehley actually sang one of his own songs on record.

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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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