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Song Stories

“Wannabe”

Spice Girls | 1997

Although the Spice Girls created the image of an all-for-one/one-for-all group — and popularized the phrase "girl power" — it turns out the entire band did not have full input on their breakthrough hit, a song co-written by the band with Matt Rowe and Richard Stannard. "It was so intimidating — like standing in a room with no clothes on," Victoria Beckham recalled. "And particularly during the early sessions, I didn't have as much input as I did later. In fact, with 'Wannabe' I missed most of it."

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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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