.

Song Stories

“Young Blood”

The Coasters | 1957

Doc Pomus gave a demo of his song to fellow songwriter Mike Stoller, thinking it might make a good A side for the Coasters. A few months later, Pomus heard "Young Blood" blaring out of a jukebox, though he hardly recognized it: Stoller and writing partner Jerry Leiber had adapted it to better suit the top of the charts. "I guess you must’ve heard it," said Atlantic's Jerry Wexler, answering the call from Pomus. "It's a smash." And at just the right time--Pomus was down to his last dime. The first of many hits, "Young Blood" pointed to Doc Pomus' bright future in the songwriting biz.

prev
Song Stories Main Next

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.”

More Song Stories entries »
www.expandtheroom.com