5 Songs We Can’t Stop Listening To is a collection of our newest favorite songs. Every week we ask an artist that we love to tell us about the music they love.
Listen to the whole segment below.
Al Bell picks “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” by Otis Redding
My guest today is music legend Al Bell. Al Bell started as a DJ in his hometown of Little Rock, Ark. Then he became the co-owner of Stax Records in Memphis, Tennessee. If you pick up a 45” released by Stax Records, you’ll see “produced by Al Bell” printed right on it. He is a producer, co-owner and even a songwriter at Stax. The BBC has documented him as being an icon of soul music and the driving force of the Memphis sound.
Justin Barney: Al, such an honor to have you here. What’s the last song that you couldn’t stop listening to?
Al Bell: That’s a difficult question because when it’s a great song, I love a great song, and there are many, many of them. Coming from radio, and still being a disc-jockey today, I love a lot of great music. When I hear one that hits my heart, and I know it’s hitting the hearts of people, then I fall in love with it.
But one, I suppose this is a bit personal in terms of my spirit, and also the uniqueness of the song, and the performance that I love listening to and will listen to from time to time, is one titled “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long,” done by Otis Redding. It was written by Jerry Butler. Jerry and Otis wrote it, and Otis sang it.
The minute I heard it, it was my song.
If I wanted to, or wanted to have been able to sing a song, that would’ve been the song I sang. I’ve been loving you too long to stop now! Too long! As a matter of fact, I remember hearing Jerry perform on one occasion, and he said “there’s a song that I wrote with Otis Redding titled ‘I’ve Been Loving You Too Long’ and I will not sing that song. I can not sing that song because no one can sing that song better than Otis Redding. I am not going to embarrass myself singing the song that I helped write, because that’s all I did was help write that song.” I’ve been loving you too long to stop now!