Try a Little Tenderness by Otis Redding

Try a Little Tenderness by Otis Redding

In the world of soul music, Otis Redding is a name that needs no introduction. The man behind the classic hits such as "Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay" and "Respect", Redding is widely regarded as one of the greatest soul singers of all time. However, there is one song that stands out amongst the rest in his extensive catalog - "Try a Little Tenderness".

Originally written in 1932 by Jimmy Campbell, Reg Connelly, and Harry M. Woods, "Try a Little Tenderness" gained popularity in the early 1960s when Redding released his version. The song features a slow, smooth melody that is complimented by Redding's soulful vocals and powerful instrumentation. It's no wonder that the song has stood the test of time, remaining a beloved classic over half a century later.

The opening of the song sets a tone of melancholic longing. Redding croons, "Oh, she may be weary, them young girls, they do get wearied", setting the scene for the tune. As the song progresses, Redding's vocals pick up pace, growing more fervent and impassioned. The true dynamism of the song is on full display in the chorus, where Redding passionately pleads with his audience to "Try a little tenderness" and "Show her you care".

The theme of "Try a Little Tenderness" is one of love, specifically the idea that tenderness and understanding are the keys to a successful relationship. Redding's lyrics urge listeners to value their significant others and treat them with respect and kindness. This message still rings true today and is one reason why the song has remained a favorite amongst fans.

In terms of instrumentation, "Try a Little Tenderness" is a prime example of Redding's musical genius. The song features a lush arrangement of different instruments that all work in harmony to create a rich, full sound. From the horns to the drums to the strings, each element of the song adds depth and complexity to the overall composition.

Interestingly, "Try a Little Tenderness" wasn't an immediate commercial success when it was first released. While some critics praised the song for its emotive power and artistry, it wasn't until Redding's tragic death in 1967 that the song achieved widespread popularity. Today, it remains a classic hit that continues to captivate audiences with its timeless charm and beautiful melody.


In the end, "Try a Little Tenderness" is a song that truly embodies the essence of soul music. From its stirring melodies to the emotive lyrics, the song is a testament to Otis Redding's immense talent and musical genius. Its message of tenderness and empathy is just as relevant today as it was over fifty years ago, and its continued popularity is a testament to its enduring appeal. For anyone looking to explore the world of soul music, "Try a Little Tenderness" is a must-listen track that is sure to leave a lasting impression.