“The whistle at the end of “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay,” belongs to longtime musician Sam “Bluzman” Taylor, who was brought in to finish the final overdubs.
Once upon a time, the greatest soul singer in the world wrote the greatest song the world would ever know. A song so great it would take his lifetime to discover it. A song so beautiful and well-crafted that it would take more than one person to finish it. A song that was truly greater than one’s self.
As we know, that song was Otis Redding‘s “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay.” Most music historians would point out that Otis Redding never got to hear the final version of the song song with Steve Cropper’s electric guitar overdubs.
Cropper was waiting for Redding to hear after returning from his now-fateful gig in Madison, WI.
But as sad as that is to hear, what perhaps is the saddest aspect of “Dock of the Bay’s” history is that the iconic whistle which outros the song is not Otis Redding’s. At least, the studio cut is not. That whistle came from Sam Bluzman Taylor.
Who, again, is Sam Bluzman Taylor?
Sam Taylor was a career singer-songwriter, guitarist, and session musician. During his truly colorful career, Taylor worked with, rubbed elbows, got breaks for, and influenced a number of popular acts in the 1960s, ’70s. Other acts in his career list included:
- Sam & Dave
- Jimi Hendrix
- Freddie King
- The Beach Boys
- Tom Waits
Otis Redding did originally come up with a whistle for the end of the song.
According to Steve Cropper, Redding was still pondering adding a 4th verse to “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” or lyrics to an outro. Otis just finished up the song with a whistle as a placeholder because he had nothing else left to add. Presumably, when he was to get back from his trip to Wisconsin, him and Cropper were going to finish it up.
So the story goes, a grief-filled Cropper returned to the studio to edit the song, heard the whistle outro again, and thought it fit perfect with the fade-out but needed and overdub. Thus, the call to Taylor.