Otis Redding (September 9, 1941 - December 10, 1967) was a highly acclaimed soul/R&B singer and songwriter who became famous during the mid-late 1960s. With his gritty, emotive, and powerful delivery, he is considered to be among pop music's all-time top singers, and his distinctive style has been cited as a major influence by many bands and artists. Redding was also an accomplished songwriter who, by age 26, had already penned two songs that helped define the late 1960s: "(Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay" and Aretha Franklin's "Respect." His life and career were tragically cut short in a plane crash that also took the lives of four members of The Bar-Kays. "(Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay," which was recorded just three days before his untimely death, became the first posthumous single to top both the Billboard R&B and Pop/Rock charts, and this song, along with many other Otis Redding works, have since then become beloved oldies music favorites.
Born Otis Ray Redding, Jr. in Dawson, Georgia, he got his start in music at an early age singing in his church's choir. By high school, he was winning talent contests and performing professionally on local radio. At age 15, he was forced to drop out of school to help support his family when his father contracted tuberculosis. He worked at various odd jobs and occasionally as a musician. He got his first career breakthrough in 1958 while performing at a talent show when he was discovered by famed blues guitarist, Johnny Jenkins. He later joined Jenkins's band, The Pinetoppers, as a singer and personal driver. Redding also served for a short time as a member of Little Richard's backing band, The Upsetters. In 1962, he got another breakthrough when he was able to gain access to a block of unused studio time at Stax studios to record a ballad, "These Arms Of Mine," which led to his first single and a contract with the Stax sister label, Volt.
Redding made his debut in 1963 on both the R&B and Pop/Rock charts with "These Arms Of Mine." This was followed by a long string of hits through 1969 that also included "Mr. Pitiful" (1965), "I've Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now)" (1965), "Respect" (1965), "Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song)" (1966), "Try A Little Tenderness" (1966), his rollicking, horn-driven cover of The Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction" (1966), and his tour de force, "(Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay" (1968). This soul classic, with its soothing yet haunting melody and brooding lyrics, was a stylistic departure for Redding who was inspired to take his art in a different after listening to The Beatles album, "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." Other posthumous hits included "The Happy Song (Dum-Dum)" (1968) and his cover of James Brown's "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag" (1968). Redding also had several hit duets with Carla Thomas that included "Knock On Wood" (1967), "Tramp" (1967), and "Lovey Dovey" (1968, released posthumously).
Otis Redding's many honors and accolades include being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989 and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1994. In 1999, he was named the recipient of the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2002, the city of Macon, Georgia honored him with a memorial statue in the city's Gateway Park located next to the Otis Redding Memorial Bridge. "(Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay" won two Grammys in 1969 and was named by BMI in 1999 as the sixth-most performed song of the 20th century, with about six million performances. This iconic song and others have been included in numerous top lists by Rolling Stone Magazine, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Q Magazine, and New Musical Express (NME).
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Otis and Carla
- Knock On Wood 1967
(This song was previously a hit for Eddie Floyd (1966) and later also became a hit for Amil Stewart (1979).)
- Tramp 1967
(This song also became a hit for Lowell Fulsom (1967).)
- (Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay 1968
(This song topped both the R&B and Pop/Rock charts for Otis Redding in 1968 and also became a hit for King Curtis (1968), the Dells (1969), Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66 (1969), Sammy Hagar (1979), the Reddings (1982), and Michael Bolton (1988).)
- Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song) 1966
- Glory Of Love 1967
(This song was previously a hit for the Roommates (1961) and Don Gardner & Dee Dee Ford (1962) and later also became a hit for the Dells (1971).)
- I Love You More Than Words Can Say 1967
- I've Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now) 1965
(This song later also became a hit for Ike & Tina Turner (1969).)
- Respect 1965
(This song also became a hit for the Rationals (1966) and was made famous by Aretha Franklin (1967).)
- Satisfaction 1966
(This song previously topped the charts for the Rolling Stones (1965) and later also became a hit for Vanilla Ice (1991).)
- Try A Little Tenderness 1966
(This song first became a hit for Ted Lewis in 1933 and also became a hit for Aretha Franklin (1962), Three Dog Night (1969), and the Commitments (1991).)
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