How To Play Hard To Handle By The Black Crowes

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Hard To Handle by The Black Crowes is perhaps the most notable cover of this song, for whom it was a breakout hit single from their 1990 debut album Shake Your Money Maker.

Hard to Handle is a 1968 song written by American soul music star Otis Redding along with Al Bell and Allen Jones. Originally recorded by Redding, it was released in 1968 as the B-side to “Amen” (shortly after the singer’s sudden death in 1967). The song also appears on the 1968 album The Immortal Otis Redding. Redding’s version reached #38 on the Billboard R&B charts and #51 on the pop charts.

Two versions of the song exist: the original album version and the hit single remixed with an overdubbed brass section. The Crowes’ version reached number one on the Billboard Album Rock Tracks chart and number 26 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The band released its first studio album, Shake Your Money Maker, in 1990. Supported by singles “Hard to Handle,” “She Talks to Angels,” “Jealous Again,” “Twice As Hard,” “Sister Luck,” and “Seeing Things,” the album received multi-platinum certification and eventually sold more than five million copies. Their cover of Otis Redding’s “Hard to Handle” and acoustic ballad “She Talks to Angels” both achieved top 30 positions on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1991. The band opened for ZZ Top on a tour sponsored by Miller Beer, from which they were fired in March 1991 after Chris Robinson’s verbal tirade aimed at Miller. The band launched its own tour that May and later took part in a Monsters of Rock tour in Europe, where they opened for Metallica, AC/DC, Mötley Crüe and Queensrÿche.

After replacing guitarist Jeff Cease with Marc Ford from blues-rock power trio Burning Tree, the band released its second album The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion in 1992. The album debuted at number 1 on the Billboard 200. The effort spawned the singles “Remedy,” “Sting Me,” “Thorn in My Pride” and “Hotel Illness,” all of which topped the Billboard Album Rock Tracks chart. “Remedy” and “Thorn in My Pride” also charted on the Hot 100 in 1992.