Try a Little Tenderness

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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, Rita Reys, 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.[1] 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. A live version performed in 1967 at the Monterey International Pop Festival was also recorded.

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 "(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons" and "You Send Me").

Redding's rendition of the song was sampled by Kanye West & Jay-Z on the song Otis.

D-TV set Redding's rendition to Disney's Cinderella.

Three Dog Night version

Three Dog Night released a version of the song that peaked at #29 on the Billboard Top 100 in 1969.[2] It is a direct version of Redding's interpretation of the song, including the added Coda that was used in Redding's version.


  1. Bowman, Rob (1997). Soulsville U.S.A.: The Story of Stax Records. New York: Schirmer Trade. ISBN 0-8256-7284-8. Pg. 105-1072
  2. Three Dog Night, "Try a Little Tenderness" Chart Position Retrieved February 18, 2015

External links

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