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Song Stories

“The Letter”

The Box Tops | 1967

On the first run-through, 16-year-old Box Tops frontman Alex Chilton sang this soon-to-be Number One hit "really softly," he later recalled. "The producer came out and said, 'No, man, you gotta sing it hard. Don't be afraid of the microphone.'" Producer Dan Penn then demonstrated, belting out the song, and Chilton followed suit, nailing it. Penn remembers the session differently: "Everybody thinks I coaxed Alex into doing a lot of vocal tricks, but it's not true -- he just had it. The only thing I ever told that young man to do was sing 'aeroplane' instead of 'airplane.' I was just tryin' to make it flow better."

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Song Stories

“Whoomp! (There It Is)”

Tag Team | 1993

Cecil Glenn — a.k.a., "D.C." — was a cook at Magic City, a nude dance club in Atlanta, when he first heard women shout "Whoomp — there it is!" Inspired by the party chant, he and partner Steve "Roll'n" Gibson wrote a song around it. Undaunted by label rejections, they borrowed $2,500 from Glenn's parents and pressed 800 singles, which quickly sold out in the Atlanta area. A record deal came soon after. Glenn said the song was meant for positive partying. "If you're going to say 'Whoomp there it is,' and you're doing something negative, we'd rather it not have come out of your mouth."

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