Redding wrote this with Jerry Butler ("For Your Precious Love," "Only the Strong Survive") in a Buffalo hotel room.
This was Redding's best selling single and biggest hit while he was alive. Redding died in a plane crash on December 10, 1967.
In 1969 a cover by Ike and Tina Turner peaked at #68 in the US, selling over 500,00 copies. Bob Krasnow, who bought the track to Ike Turner then produced their version, recalled in a 1971 Rolling Stone magazine article that Ike hated Otis Redding: "He just didn't think Otis had it."
The Rolling Stones covered this in 1966 and released it on their live album Got Live If You Want It!. This song, along with "Fortune Teller," were actually recorded in a studio with audience noises dubbed in.
The famed multi-instrumentalist Booker T. Jones played piano on several of Otis' hits, including this one. Speaking to Mojo magazine October 2011, he recalled: "My experience having been a church player, and having had the classical experience, really helped there. The 'walk-ups' on those songs are classical type walk-ups, the way the chorus progresses to where the chromatics strike, that emotion. Those were integral to me as a person and to the song. Working on something like that, Otis and me became very good friends, you know, spending time on the road or in a studio together. 'I've Been Loving You Too Long' and 'Try A Little Tenderness.' Those were, I think, some of our best moments together."