Try a Little Tenderness
|"Try a Little Tenderness"|
|Single by Otis Redding|
|from the album Complete & Unbelievable: The Otis Redding Dictionary of Soul|
|B-side||"I'm Sick Y'all"|
|Released||November 14, 1966|
|Format||7" 45 RPM|
|Recorded||Stax Studios, Memphis, Tennessee: 1966|
|Length||3:46 (album version)
3:20 (single version)
|Writer(s)||Jimmy Campbell and Reg Connelly
Harry M. Woods
Booker T. & the M.G.'s
|Otis Redding singles chronology|
Sample of "Try a Little Tenderness" by Otis Redding.
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"Try a Little Tenderness" is a song written by Jimmy Campbell, Reg Connelly and Harry M. Woods, and recorded initially on December 8, 1932 by the Ray Noble Orchestra (with vocals by Val Rosing) followed by both Ruth Etting and Bing Crosby in 1933. Subsequent recordings and performances were done by such recording artists as Otis Redding, Pat O'Malley in the Jack Hylton's Big Band, Little Miss Cornshucks (1951), Michael Buble, Jimmy Durante, Frank Sinatra, Mel Tormé, Rod Stewart, Frankie Laine, Percy Sledge, Earl Grant, Al Jarreau, Sheena Easton, Nina Simone, Etta James, Tina Turner, Three Dog Night, John Miles and Andrew Strong, The Von Bondies, Cássia Eller, Florence and The Machine, and Cyndi Lauper (live at the White House). It was also performed by a studio orchestra during the opening credits of Dr. Strangelove, and by Dr. John and Bennie Wallace on the Bull Durham soundtrack.
Otis Redding version
A popular version in an entirely new form was recorded by soul artist Otis Redding in 1966. Redding was backed on his version by Booker T. & the M.G.'s, and Stax staff producer Isaac Hayes worked on the arrangement. Redding's recording features a slow soulful opening that eventually builds into a frenetic R&B conclusion, that incorporates elements from the Duke Ellington/Lee Gaines song Just Squeeze Me (But Please Don't Tease Me) as well as the words: "Sock it to me". This version peaked at #25 on the Billboard Hot 100. It has been named on a number of "best songs of all time" lists, including those from Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It is in the 204th position on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.
Aretha Franklin had covered the song in 1962 for her LP The Tender, the Moving, the Swinging Aretha Franklin on Columbia Records. After hearing it, Sam Cooke added it to his live shows, as can be heard on his live LP Sam Cooke at the Copa (1964). In Cooke's version, only two verses are included, as part of a medley (with "For Sentimental Reasons" and "You Send Me").
The song has been covered numerous times, including a version by Three Dog Night that peaked at #29 on the Billboard Top 100 in 1969. Their version is a direct version of Otis Redding's interpretation of the song, including the added Coda, used in Redding's version. British rocker Rod Stewart also recorded his own cover version, appearing on his 1988 Warner Bros. studio album Out of Order, although that version never became a hit single. The Redding version was featured prominently in the 1991 feature film The Commitments and its subsequent soundtrack, as were numerous other Redding songs, such as "Mr. Pitiful". Saxophonist David Sanborn covered the song on the 1995 album Pearls. Michael Bolton covered the song on his 1999 album Timeless: The Classics Vol. 2.
The instrumental version of the song appears in the opening credits of the 1964 Stanley Kubrick film "Dr. Strangelove". The song was also featured in the 2000 film Duets, where Paul Giamatti and Andre Braugher (with Andre's vocals provided by Arnold McCuller) sing it together as a duet in a karaoke competition. It is also featured in the John Hughes film Pretty in Pink where Duckie mimes the song to Andie (Molly Ringwald) in the record store Trax.
- Bowman, Rob (1997). Soulsville U.S.A.: The Story of Stax Records. New York: Schirmer Trade. ISBN 0-8256-7284-8. Pg. 105-1072
- "Pearls overview". Allmusic.
- "Peter Bjorn And John cover "Try A Little Tenderness" by Otis Redding". Retrieved March 25, 2013.