I was maybe 7, possibly younger when I first remember hearing Otis Redding. It was Friday nights with Grmm at Gag’s house . Gag’s dad would come home from the Franklin House after a long day of work, kick on the old Philco hi-fi stereo - he didn’t have to tune it because it was already tuned to Oldies 104.3FM WJMK out of Chicago -, crack open a Strohs, plop in the La-Z-Boy, and drift away to Dick Biondi’s oldies. We’d be able to hear it from down the hall in Gag’s room because manufactured-homes construction weren't big on interior insulation and the parquet floor echoed the sound hauntingly well.
There were lot’s of classic ‘50s and 60’s doo-wop and bubble gum that’d turn out. It’s probably what made Motown sound that much better because it sounded like actual music.
Then there would be this change-of-pace song I’d hope to hear. It would start with a slow, soothing acoustic strum and the subtle washing of waves. Then this reassuring, raspy croon of a voice would kick in. His first note let you know that he wasn’t being instructed to make everything feel optimistic and unrealistically happy. He was going to be someone who told it like it was. It sounded like the first adult who was going to be upfront with me. It made it that much easier to roll my head and yearn along with the baseline. Eventually, I learned the lyrics as best I could.
We didn’t have public internet back then. I didn’t have my first computer until I was 21. We never had much money to go record shopping, so I spent years searching more about Otis Redding. The more I found, the more intrigued I became.
It feels weird now to see his whole collection is embedded on this webpage below. That sort of thing never seemed possible growing up. But, yet here it is.
It stuck with me through the years.
I hope you like them. And if you have anything to contribute, or find a fact you’d like to contest, please let me know.
|Stage Name||Otis Redding||Best Selling Single||(posthumous) “(Sittin’ on) The Dock of The Bay”|
|Real Name||Otis Ray Redding, Jr.||My Favorite Single||“(Sittin’ on) The Dock of The Bay”|
|Birthdate||1941/09/09||Best Selling Album||“Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul”. (Posthumous: “The Dock of the Bay”)|
|Birth Location||Dawson, GA||My Favorite Album||“Live on the Sunset Strip”|
|Location||Lake Monona, WI||Instruments||Vocals, Guitar, Piano|
|Cause of Death||Plane Crash / Drown (his private plane)||Band(s)||the Upsetters, the Pinetoppers, Otis and the Shooters, Booker T. & the M.G.'s (backing band)|
|Signature||Raspy Voice, Emotional Delivery, Vibrance||My Favorite Band||Booker T. & the M.G.'s|
|Influences||Little Richard, Sam Cooke||Record Company||Jotis (owned), Stax, Redwal, and Atlantic|
|Broke in||Won $5 singing contest in 1958. 1963: wrote / Sang “These Arms of Mine.”||RC SNAFUs?||Strax didn’t know Atlantic held the copyrights|
|Breakthrough||Monterey Pop Festival. 1967||Manager / Agent||Self, Alan Walden|
|Legacy Left||Ability to show raw soul emotion. High-energy covers of rock anthems. Show soul / rock cross-overs can be ballads. Business acumen: owned record company. Invested.||Upbringing||Father: preacher / sharecropper. Contracted tuberculosis when Otis was 15. Forced Otis and Mama to work hard jobs to make ends meet.|
|Infamy?||Died too soon.||Parents Around?||Yes.|
|Awards Include||UK Silver award. Posthumous: #1 US Single, Grammy Lifetime Achievement, Songwriters HOF||Traumatic childhood?||Forced to work manual labor jobs to help mama bring in money for the family.|
|Family Man?||According to Zelma||Traumatic events?||Parental illness.|
|Wife||Zelma||Why I Love Otis Redding||He started my love of music|
|Kids||Dexter, Karla, Otis III, Demetria||How He Inspires Me||When his music’s on, watch me work|
|Year / Date Released||Album||Label||Acclaim||Charts|
|1964/01/01||Pain in My Heart||Alto Records (New York City)||Positive. All Music & Rolling Stone||#28 UK Charts|
|1965/03/03||The Great Otis Redding Sings Soul Ballads||Volt (Memphis, TN)||5 Stars: Rolling Stone||#3 on US R&B Charts|
|1965/09/15||Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul||Volt (Memphis, TN)||5 Stars: Rolling Stone||#1 on US R&B Charts. #6 on UK Charts.|
|1966/04/01||The Soul Album||Volt (Memphis, TN)||4 Stars: AllMusic||#3 on US R&B Charts|
|1966/10/15||Complete & Unbelievable: The Otis Redding Dictionary of Soul||Volt (Memphis, TN)||4 Stars: Rolling Stone||#5 on US R&B Charts|
|1967/03/16||King & Queen (with Carla Thomas)||Stax Records (Memphis, TN)||4.5 Stars: Rolling Stone||#5 on US R&B Charts|
|1968/02/23||The Dock of The Bay||Volt (Memphis, TN)||It had (Sittin’ On) The Dock of The Bay on it. Rolling Stone: positive.||#1 US. #1 UK.|
|1968/06/01 (?)||The Immortal Otis Redding||Atco||4 Stars: Rolling Stone Album Guide|
|1970/07/01||Tell the Truth||Atco||3 Stars: AllMusic|
|1967/07/10||Live in Europe||London, Paris...||Volt||#8 US R&B. #14 UK.|
|1968/04/15 (?)||In Person at the Whisky a Go Go||Whisky a Go Go||Atco||#7 US R&B.|
|1970/08/26||Historic Performances Recorded at the Monterey International Pop Festival||Monterey Pop Festival||Reprise Records||#15 US R&B||Gold: US|
|2010||Live on the Sunset Strip||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|