"The Letter" is a song written by Wayne Carson Thompson which was a #1 hit in 1967 for the Box Tops.
The track was recorded at American Sound Studio in Memphis in a session produced by Dan Penn. Previously a musician and engineer at FAME Studios, Penn had been hired as production assistant to American Sound's owner Chips Moman, who Penn felt was shutting him out as a collaborator. Penn recalls: "Finally, I just told [Moman]...'Look, we can't produce together...I think I can produce records [alone]...But I do need somebody to cut. Give me the worst one you got'." Moman suggested Penn record a local five man outfit who had been pitched to him by disc jockey Ray Banks (Penn - "Chips was just graspin'. He'd never heard [the group]") and also passed on to Penn a demo tape of songs cut by his friend Wayne Carson Thompson which included "The Letter". Thompson's father dabbled in songwriting and would suggest ideas to his son, who had written "The Letter" after his father had suggested: "Give me a ticket for an aeroplane" as a potential opening line for a song. Penn met with some of the members of the group - who were eventually dubbed the Box Tops - "and told them to pick anything they...