Otis Redding

American singer and songwriter, record producer, arranger and talent scout Otis Ray Redding, Jr. was born September 9, 1941. Raised in Georgia, United States, Redding left school at age 15 to support his family by working with Little Richard’s backing band, the Upsetters and by performing at talent shows for prize money. In 1958, he joined Johnny Jenkins’ band, the Pinetoppers, and toured the Southern United States as driver and musician. An unscheduled appearance on a Stax recording session led to a contract and his first single, “These Arms of Mine”, in 1962. Stax released Redding’s debut album, Pain in My Heart, two years later. Initially popular mainly with African Americans, Redding later reached the broader American popular music audience. He and his group first played small gigs in the South, then played for the first time in the western United States, at the Whisky a Go Go. Redding later performed in Paris, London and other European cities.

Sadly though Redding was tragically killed in a plane crash on December 10 1967, however (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay became the first posthumous number-one record on both the Billboard Hot 100 andR&B charts after his death in a plane crash. The Dock of the Bay also became the first posthumous album to reach number one on the UK Albums Chart. His premature death devastated Stax, already on the verge of bankruptcy. The label soon discovered that Atlantic Records owned the rights to Redding’s entire catalog.

Redding is still considered one of the greatest singers in popular music and a major artist in soul music and rhythm and blues. His singing style has been influential among the soul artists of 1960s and helped exemplify the Stax Sound. After appearing at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, he wrote and recorded “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” with Steve Cropper. He also received many posthumous accolades, including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He received the honorific “King of Soul”. In addition to “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay,” “Respect” and “Try a Little Tenderness” are among his most well-known songs.

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