By Gary: Let’s talk about my favourite “Soul” singer, the Big Man…
Otis Ray Redding Jr.,
(September 9, 1941 – December 10, 1967)
I have a copy of the DVD of a video done in Europe with the Stax House Band, consisting of Donald “Duck” Dunn, Steve Cropper, Booker T Jones and the Stax horns. It is called Remembering Otis.
1966 My Girl/Respect
I will give you his charted songs plus some others than I enjoy. I know that I will not satisfy everyone, but I do the best I can:
1. Pain In My Heart/1963/ #61 Billboard #11 R&B
2. Mr. Pitiful/ 1964/ #41 Billboard #10 R&B
3. I’ve Been Loving You Too Long/ Volt 126/ 6/19/65/ #21 Billboard #2 R&B
4. Respect (the best version)/ Volt 128/ 10/23/65/ # 35 Billboard # 4 R&B
5. I Can’t Turn You Loose/ 1965/ #11 R&B
6. Satisfaction/ Volt 132/ 4/2/66/ #31 Billboard #4 R&B
7. Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song)/ Volt 138/10/29/66/ #29 Billboard #12 R&B
8. Try a Little Tenderness/ Volt 141/ 12/31/66/ #25 Billboard #4
Otis Redding & Carla Thomas
(See also our post: Rufus & Carla Thomas)
9. Tramp/ Stax 216/ 6/3/67/ #26 Billboard #2 R&B
10. Knock on Wood/ Stax 228/ 9/23/67/ #30 Billboard #8 R&B
11. (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay/ Volt 157/ #1 (four weeks) #1 R&B
12. The Happy Song/ Volt 163/ 5/11/68/ #25 Billboard #10 R&B
13. Amen/ Atco 6592/ 7/27/68/ #36 Billboard #15 R&B
14. Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag (live at the Whiskey A-Go-Go)/Atco 6636/ 12/14/68/ #21 Billboard
15. Shake (Studio version, Album Otis Blue 1965), Live version 1967 #47 Billboard #16 R&B
16. Love Man – from 1969 and the movie, Dirty Dancing
The Great Dirty Dancing Video (Otis “Love Man“) where the late Patrick Swayze teaches “Baby” to Dirty Dance
Otis Redding was born September 9, 1941 in Dawson, Georgia. When Otis was five the family moved to the Tindal Heights Housing Project in Macon, Georgia. Otis Sr. worked at the Robins Air Force Base, one of the local places of employment for blacks, and preached on the weekends. Redding began singing in choir of the Vineville Baptist Church. For much of his childhood his father was sick. Living for awhile in a shotgun house in west Macon known as Bellevue the family was forced to move back into the project after it burnt down.
Dropping out of Ballad Hudson High School in the tenth grade, and went on to work with Little Richard’s former band, the Upsetters. and he send home $25 a week. Gladys Williams, a prominent local musician ran Sunday night talent shows that Otis began to compete in. After winning 15 times straight, he was no longer allowed to compete.
In 1959, Otis sang at the Grand Duke Club. In 1960 Redding began touring the South with Johnny Jenkins and The Pinetoppers. With this group he made his first recording in 1960 as Otis and The Shooters.
In 1962, Redding recorded a song he had written,”These Arms of Mine” at a Johnny Jenkins session at Stax Records in Memphis, Tennessee. The song became a major R&B hit and a minor pop hit in early 1961 on the newly formed Volt subsidiary of Stax, to which he was quickly signed.
(See also our post: Booker T & The MG’s)
Now recording in Memphis with the Stax house band, “Booker T. and The MGs”, Redding had a number of crossover hits for Volt that included “That’s What My Heart Needs,” “Pain In My Heart,” and “Chained and Bound.”
His first moderate hit was “Mr. Pitiful” in early 1965.
Redding toured regularly through 1967, accompanied by Booker T. and The MGs or The Bar-Kays, developing a greater initial following in Europe than in the U.S.
In the spring of 1965, Redding broke into the pop market with “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now),” co-written with Jerry Butler, and his “Respect.”
His Otis Blue album included two hits, Sam Cooke’s “Shake” and “A Change is Gonna Come” and The Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction” which became a crossover hit.
Redding’s “I Can’t Turn You Lose“/”Just One More Day” became a Top 10 two-sided R&B hit at the end of 1965.
His Dictionary of Soul album yielded crossover hits “My Lover’s Prayer,” Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song),” and “Try a Little Tenderness.”
In 1967 Arthur Conley had a Top 10 hit with the Conley-Redding “Sweet Soul Music” and Aretha Franklin had a Top 10 Pop and R&B hit with Redding’s “Respect.”
Redding recorded King and Queen with Carla Thomas and the album yielded R&B and Pop hits “Tramp” and “Knock On Wood.”
Appearing as the only soul act at The Monterey International Pop Festival gained Redding widespread recognition and began establishing himself with pop audiences. However, while touring, Redding’s airplane crashed into Lake Monon near Madison, Wisconsin on December 10, 1967 killing him and four members of the Bar-Kays.
In early 1968, Redding’s recording of “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay,” co-written with Steve Cropper, became a top pop and R&B hit.
Posthumously crossover hits continued in to 1969 with “The Happy Song (Dum Dum),” “Amen,” “I’ve Got Dreams to Remember,” “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag,” and “Love Man.”
Otis Redding was with us for only a short time, but like Buddy Holly, influenced singers and writers for generations to come.
There never was a satisfactory answer to just why the twin engine Beechcraft crashed into the lake in Wisconsin, but Ben Cauley (a band member) did survive the crash.