Otis Ray Redding, Jr. (September 9, 1941 – December 10, 1967) was an American singer and songwriter, record producer, arranger and talent scout. He is 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 show 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. The song became the first posthumous number-one record on both the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B charts after his death in a plane crash. The Dock of the Bay became the first posthumous album to reach number one on the UK Albums Chart.
Born and 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. 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 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.
By 1967 the band was traveling to gigs on Redding’s Beechcraft H18. Late that year they flew to Nashville, and on December 9, 1967, appeared on the Upbeat television show produced in Cleveland. They played three concerts in two nights at a small club called Leo’s Casino. After a phone call with Zelma and children, Redding’s next stop was Madison, Wisconsin. On the next day they were to play at the Factory nightclub near the University of Wisconsin.
Although the weather was poor, with heavy rain and fog and despite warnings, the plane took off. Four miles from their destination at Truax Field in Madison, the pilot radioed for permission to land. Shortly then, the plane crashed into Lake Monona. Bar-Kays member Ben Cauley, the accident’s only survivor, was sleeping shortly before the accident. He woke just before impact to see bandmate Phalon Jones look out a window and exclaim, “Oh, no!” Cauley said the last thing he remembered before the crash was unbuckling his seat belt. He then found himself in frigid water, grasping a seat cushion to keep afloat.] A non-swimmer, he was unable to rescue the others. The cause of the crash was never determined. James Brown claimed in his autobiography, The Godfather of Soul, that he had warned Redding not to fly in the plane.
Aretha Franklin stated, “I heard it on the TV. My sister Caroline and I stopped everything and stayed glued to the TV and radio. It was a tragedy. Shocking.” Other victims were pilot Richard Fraser, drummer Matthew Kelly, lead guitarist of the Bar-Kays Jimmy King, tenor saxophonist Phalon Jones, organist Ronnie Caldwell and drummer Carl Cunningham.
Redding’s body was recovered the next day when the lake bed was searched. The family postponed the funeral from December 15 to December 18 so that more could attend. The service took place at the City Auditorium in Macon. More than 4,500 people came to the funeral, overflowing the 3,000-seat hall, although many did not know who he was. Johnny Jenkins and Isaac Hayes did not come, fearing their reaction would be worse than Zelma Redding’s. Redding was entombed at his ranch in Round Oak, about 20 miles (32 km) north of Macon. Jerry Wexler delivered the eulogy. Redding died just three days after recording Dock of the Bay. He was survived by Zelma and three children, Otis III, Dexter and Karla. Otis, Dexter and cousin Mark Lockett later founded the Reddings, a band managed by Zelma. She also maintained or worked at the janitorial service Maids Over Macon, several nightclubs and booking agencies. On November 8, 1997, a memorial plaque was placed on the lakeside deck of the Madison convention center, Monona Terrace. (Source: Wikipedia)
|1||(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay|
|3||The Happy Song (Dum-Dum)|
|4||Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song)|
|5||(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction|
|6||Knock on Wood|
|7||Try a Little Tenderness|
|9||Hard to Handle|
|10||My Lover’s Prayer|
|11||Just One More Day|
|13||I’ve Been Loving You Too Long|
|15||I’ve Got Dreams to Remember|
|18||A Lover’s Question|
|19||Pain in My Heart|
|20||Chained and Bound|
|21||Glory of Love|
|22||Lovey Dovey (with Carla Thomas)|
|23||That’s How Strong My Love Is|
|24||Come to Me|
|25||These Arms of Mine|
|26||I Love You More Than Words Can Say|
|28||I Can’t Turn You Loose|
|31||That’s What My Heart Needs|
|33||Let Me Come on Home|
|36||A Change Is Gonna Come|
|37||When Something Is Wrong with My Baby|
|38||Your Love Has Lifted Me (Higher and Higher)|
|39||Look at That Girl|