Song of the Day #1,916: ‘It’s Too Late’ – Otis Redding

otis_redding_its_too_lateMy knee-jerk reaction to sampling was negative. Back when Puff Daddy was lifting the music of ‘Every Breath You Take’ and simply rapping over it, I was incredulous that such a practice could pass as artistry.

I still feel that way about sampling as egregious as that. Recently, Pit Bull and Christina Aguilera lifted the glorious introduction of A-Ha’s ‘Take On Me’ for their otherwise bland track ‘Feel This Moment‘ and it reeks of laziness.

(On a side note, has Pitbull ever released a song that didn’t feature some other artist?)

But sampling done right can be wonderful. Yesterday’s Kanye West track, ‘Gone,’ uses the first moments of today’s SOTD and incorporates another bit from that verse, but that’s it. It works like gangbusters for West’s track, but leaves Otis Redding’s original essentially untouched.
‘It’s Too Late’ is an entirely different experience.

The best sampling works this way, using snippets of sound — a short horn part here, a clipped vocal there — to build something unique.

And I hope it leads modern listeners back to the great source songs, the way I discovered today’s track through West’s.

Ooh she was my only one
But it’s too late, it’s too late
She’s gone

It’s too late, she’s gone now
I know she’s gone now
It’s too late, my baby’s gone now
I need her loving
Oh more than anyone ooh
But it’s too late, I know it’s too late
She’s gone

It’s a weak man that cry now
So I guess I better
Guess I better dry my weeping eyes now
I need her loving
More than anyone oh
But it’s too late
It seems like it’s too late
She’s gone

She’s gone, my baby’s gone,
She’s gone, oh my baby, she’s gone
She’s gone, my baby’s she’s gone
But where can, where can my my baby be

Lord, I wonder sometimes
Does she really know
Does she really know
Does she really know when she left me
Oh it hurt little heart so now
I need your loving
Please don’t make me wait
Lord, but it’s too late, it’s too late
She’s gone
I need your loving
Oh more than anyone
Don’t let it be too late
No, don’t let it be too late
But she’s gone

Wished I had told her
Ooh she was my only one
Ooh but it’s too late
I know it’s to late
She’s gone
Wished I had told her
Oh she was the only one…

3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #1,916: ‘It’s Too Late’ – Otis Redding

  1. Dana says:

    I think the first time I actually paid attention to sampling in rap may have been Vanilla Ice’s “Ice, Ice Baby” (sampling Bowe and Queen “Under Pressure”) or maybe it was MC Hammer’s “U can’t touch this” (sampling Rick Brown’s “Superfreak”). I think those samples worked very well and, frankly, may have vastly improved otherwise lackluster raps.

    Then of course there is Eminem, who in songs like “Stan,” geniusly works great samples into his work.

    At this point, sampling is so much a part of rap music, that I have no problem with it, though I agree with your point that it sometimes ends up being nothing more than hijacking an otherwise great song to throw a lackluster rap over it.

    On a side note, hearing today’s song makes me feel that I would be well served to pick up an Otis Redding album. Love his sound.

  2. Andrea Katz says:

    Right? You would not be disappointed…great soul singer. We saw his statue in Macon, Georgia on the river, when we dropped Phil off to Mercer.

  3. Andrea Katz says:

    I love “reeks of laziness’…

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