Category: Otis Redding

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When I first heard Otis Redding and what his music means to me

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.

Yeah, it was (Sittin’ on) The Dock of The Bay.

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.

Otis Redding will always be significant to me for these reasons

It stuck with me through the years.

My notes, thoughts, and online media for Otis are below

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.

Otis Redding Quickfacts

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”
Died 1967/12/9 Songwriter? Yes.
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


Studio Albums

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

Posthumous Albums w/ Original Material

Year Album Where Recorded Acclaim Awards
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
1969/06/20 Love Man Atco
1970/07/01 Tell the Truth Atco 3 Stars: AllMusic

Live Albums Worth Noting

Year Album Where Recorded Label Acclaim Awards
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

Online Media

Otis Reddding on Spotify

My Favorites

Recorded Albums

Top Ten for Beginners

Live Recordings

Otis Redding on YouTube

Sources Consulted Included

My latest thoughts involving Otis Redding...

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