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WCSX Classic Cuts

The Black Crowes: “Hard to Handle”

Hook: Though the Crowes had already done pretty well by being jealous and hard, this Otis Redding cover took their career to the next level.

Released: 1990

Album: Shake Your Moneymaker

Writers: The song was written by its original singer, Otis Redding, along with Alvertis Isbell and Allen Jones.

Stats: “Hard to Handle” is the Crowes’ only Top 40 hit, peaking at number-26 in late 1990.

Background: The Black Crowes decided to cover “Hard to Handle” for their debut album after ditching much of the original material they’d written when they were billed as Mr. Crowes Garden in 1988. It was the third single from Shake Your Moneymaker, and it helped propel the album to number-four on the Billboard chart.

Odd Trivia: An alternative mix of “Hard to Handle” with a horn section was widely bootlegged in the early ’90s. The band finally released a live version with horns on the 2006 DVD Freak n’ Roll.

Black Crowes singer Chris Robinson talks about “Hard to Handle.” OC:…for where we went. :23

“In my mind, it’s Otis Redding’s song. Which is a matter of great confusion and anger, because there’s a whole group of people who think it’s a Grateful Dead song and then there’s other people who think it’s a Black Crowes song. Some people think it’s a Tom Jones song. He does a great version of it from the Flamingo Hotel, like ’69. It’s a great starting point for where we went.”