Otis Ray Redding was born 9th September 1941 and died 10th December 1967. He was an American singer-songwriter, record producer, arranger and talent scout. He is considered one of the greatest singers in the history of American popular music and a seminal artist in soul and rhythm and blues. His singing style was powerfully influential among soul artists of 1960s and helped exemplify the Stax sound.
One of the most influential soul singers of the 1960s, Otis Redding exemplified to many listeners the power of Southern "deep soul" -- hoarse, gritty vocals, brassy arrangements, and an emotional way with both party tunes and aching ballads. He was also the most consistent exponent of the Stax sound, cutting his records at the Memphis label and studios that did much to update R&B into modern soul. His death at the age of 26 was tragic not just because he seemed on the verge of breaking through to a wide pop audience (which he would indeed do with his posthumous number one single "[Sittin' On] The Dock of the Bay"). It was also unfortunate because, as "Dock of the Bay" demonstrated, he was also at a point of artistic breakthrough in terms of the expression and sophistication of his songwriting and singing.
During one of Johnny Jenkins's recording sessions at Memphis's Stax studios, Redding recorded a ballad he'd written, "These Arms of Mine." The song quickly took off, rising to No. 20 on the R&B charts in 1963
That Otis Redding’s career – and, moreover, life — ended as soon as it did is one of popular music’s greatest tragedies. On the cusp of superstardom, with a startlingly energetic breakout performance at the Monterey Pop festival just behind him and what was to be his biggest single, “Dock of the Bay,” just ahead of him, he took one flight too many. On Dec. 10, 1967, a small plane carrying Redding and his band mates took off into fog and heavy rain, destined for a show in Madison, Wis. It never made it; shortly before landing, the plane plunged into the icy waters of Lake Monona. Only trumpet player Ben Cauley survived – Redding’s body had to be pulled from the bottom of the lake the next day.
It was a loss so sudden, so unexpected and so traumatic that, even 45 years later, it still resonates.
Plane recovery from Lake Monona
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Otis Redding in concert
Otis Redding - (Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay
Otis Redding - I've Been Loving You Too Long - MIPF 1967