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Song Stories

“Somebody Told Me”

The Killers | 2004

Wanting to appeal to both sexes, the Killers wrote the androgynous lyric "You had a boyfriend/Who looked like a girlfriend." "This is the story of trying to meet someone in a club," Brandon Flowers said about the debut single from the Las Vegas band's first album, Hot Fuss. For the Killers' follow-up full-length, Sam's Town, Flowers consciously shifted to creating more compelling material. "There are people who want us to write 'Somebody Told Me' again, and we just don't want that," the band's frontman told Rolling Stone. "There's always a place for fun songs, but then there are the songs that give people chills. I like those more."

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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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