Listen in Stereo
The Otis Redding Jukebox
The Otis Redding Show
Live in Cleveland, Ohio – December 9th, 1967
Born in Dawson, Ga., Otis Redding, Jr. and his family moved to Macon when he was five years old. At an early age he began his career as a singer and musician in the choir of the Vineville Baptist Church. Otis attended Ballard Hudson High School and participated in the school band. Determined to help his family financially, he began to compete in the Douglass Theatre talent shows for the five-dollar prize. After winning 15 times straight, he was no longer allowed to compete.
Otis joined Johnny Jenkins and the Pinetoppers in 1960, and would also sing at the “Teenage Party” talent shows sponsored by local celebrity disc jockey King Bee, Hamp Swain, on Saturday mornings initially at the Roxy Theater and later at the Douglass Theatre in Macon.
Johnny Jenkins and the Pinetoppers drove to Memphis, Tenn., for a recording session in October 1962 at Stax Record. At the end of the session, Stax co-owner Jim Stewart allowed Otis to cut a couple of songs with the remaining studio time. The result was "These Arms of Mine", released in 1962. This...
...was the first of many hit singles (including classics "I've Been Loving You Too Long," "Respect" and "Try A Little Tenderness") that Redding enjoyed during his tragically short career. After nine months, he was invited to perform at the Apollo Theatre for a live recording and would go on to showcase his dance movements with "Shake" and "Satisfaction."
After years of ambition and drive, Otis Redding’s sacrifices paid off. He appeared throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and the Caribbean. His concert tours were among the biggest box office smashes of any touring performer during his time. He was nominated in three categories by the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (NARAS) for recordings he made during 1967. 1968 was destined to be the greatest year of his career with appearances slated at such locations at New York’s Philharmonic Hall and Washington’s Constitution Hall. Redding was booked for several major television network appearances, including The Ed Sullivan Show and The Smothers Brothers Show.
He was posthumously inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 1981 and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1989. In 1999, he was recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award.
In 1970, Warner Brothers released an album of live recordings from the June, 1967 Monterey International Pop Festival, featuring Otis Redding on one side, and Jimi Hendrix on the other. This record is evidence that the hip white audiences, better known as the “love crowd” were digging Otis Redding just as much as the black audiences for whom he had always played. His energy and excitement, his showmanship, and his relationship with the crowd...He was nominated in three categories by the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (NARAS) for recordings he made during 1967. 1968 was destined to be the greatest year of his career with appearances slated at such locations at New York’s Philharmonic Hall made Redding a master as a performer who had the rare gift of being able to reach audiences the world over.
THE SONG – It was unlike anything Redding had ever written, influenced by his admiration for the Beatles’ classic “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album. Otis played The Beatles’ album constantly during a week he had spent on a houseboat in Sausalito when performing at San Francisco’s Fillmore West Theater in the summer of 1967. Just sitting’ on the dock, looking out at the bay, it’s easy to see where Otis got the inspiration for the song, “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay”.
It had a lilt, memorable hook, and a great story. While it was typical of Redding’s previous recordings, it signaled his creative expansion as a writer and artist. That song became Otis Redding’s biggest worldwide hit and signature. This was Otis’ final recording before the plane crash that took his life in Dec. 1967. In September 1987, Atlantic Records released “The Otis Redding Story”, a two volume record set featuring Otis’ most unique and rare hits, such as “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long.” “Respect,” “Pain In My Heart,” “Satisfaction” and of course “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay.”
Above all, Otis was a family man. He met his wife Zelma Atwood, in 1959 and they married in Aug. 1961. Together they have four children: Dexter, Karla, Otis III, and Demetria, who was adopted after Otis’ death. His family was close to his heart and soul. In 1965, he moved them into a spacious 300-acre property, “The Big O Ranch” in Round Oak, Ga., affectionately named after “The Big O” himself.
Zelma has carried on as the family matriarch and continued to rear their children to successful adulthood in honor of her late husband. Sons Dexter and Otis, III. are active music producers and songwriters, both traveling internationally. Dexter, who resides in Jacksonville, Fl also is a co-partner in 2 food franchise operations. Karla is a successful and influential entrepreneur having founded and formerly managed Karla’s Shoe Boutique with her mother and partner, in downtown Macon for almost 20 years. Today she is the project director for the Big “O” Youth Educational Dream Foundation, established in memory of her father. Zelma is executrix over the Redding Estate, where she along with Karla manages daily requests for songs in commercials,
music sampling, the use of Otis' name and image, The Otis Redding Memorial Fund and the Scholarship Foundation. Demetria is a public health administrator in Macon, GA.
As president of Redwal Music Co., Inc., Otis was very active in the company’s operation and was directly responsible for the company’s leadership in the music publishing field. To date, the company has copyrighted over 200 commercially successful songs and published many songs that have sold in excess of one million copies each.
The idea that music could be a universal force, bringing together different races and cultures, was central to Otis’ personal philosophy and reflected in his everyday life. At a time when it may not have been considered politically correct, Redding had a white manager, Phil Walden, and a racially mixed band. He took care of business, setting up his own publishing and record label, Jotis Records, making unprecedented moves for a black artist in the '60s. While it was not Otis' prime motivation, he was seen as a role model by blacks. He was someone who got paid, and paid well...
...without the usual horror stories of being ripped off by promoters, agents, managers, or record company executives.
Otis Redding’s prowess as a businessman led him to form his own label, Jotis records, in 1965. In addition to his many business interests in fields related to music, he was engaged in other business interests in his native state such as real estate, investments, stocks, and bonds. HIs business acumen meant that Otis knew how to earn and invest his money, unlike some of the other soul artists of the ’60s.
In addition to the 300-acre Big-O Ranch, complete with a two-story brick home, livestock and a three and a half acre lake with fish, Redding acquired a private plane. It was this twin-engine Beechcraft that he was riding on that tragic day, December 10, 1967 when it crashed into Lake Monona in Madison Wisconsin. The world lost a great musician and a great man on that day.
His music and his legacy, however, live on.
Otis at Monterey (1967)
Pain In My Heart
The Great Otis Redding Sings Soul Ballads
Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul
The Soul Album
Complete & Unbelievable: The Otis Redding Dictionary of Soul
King & Queen (with Carla Thomas)
Live in Europe
The Dock of the Bay
At the Whisky a Go Go
The Immortal Otis Redding
Tell the Truth
Live in London and Paris
Lonely & Blue
The Complete Stax/Volt Singles Collection
'Lonely & Blue: The Deepest Soul of Otis Redding' - due out March 5th on Stax Records
Available on CD and blue vinyl, packaging evokes the look and feel of a late '60s Stax/Volt album that Redding might have released at the height of his career.
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Otis Redding’s Lonely & Blue: The Deepest Soul of Otis Redding could pass for a title Stax/Volt might have released in the late ’60s. The look of the album reflects Stax’s design themes of the era. But in fact it’s a collection that never existed, until now, that homes in on one mood and one theme —heartbreaking, yearning ballads — of which Redding had many. The album will be released as a CD and blue vinyl LP on March 5, 2013 on Stax Records through Concord Music Group.
Lonely & Blue: The Deepest Soul of Otis Redding contains the hits (“I’ve Been Loving You Too Long,” “These Arms of Mine,” “My Lover’s Prayer,” “Free Me”) alongside many lesser-known songs (“Gone Again,” “Open the Door,” “Waste of Time,” “Everybody Makes a Mistake,” to name a few). They’re all included in this compilation because they share the tangled theme of sorrow.
According to compilation producer David Gorman, “Given how nobody delivered a gut-wrenching sad song like Otis, I always felt he should have made an album you could put on late at night and settle into with a glass of something strong. The mood and the subject of every song is the same — Otis, heartbroken, and begging for love. I tried to find the saddest most potently heartbreaking songs he ever sang, with no regard for chart position or notoriety. There are a few hits on the album, but they’re there because they fit the mood, not because we wanted to include the hits.”
Pre-order the album here: http://www.amzn.to/VDBbFy
Anatomy Of A Song: Otis Redding's "(Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay"
On Jan. 8, 1968, Otis Redding's "(Sittin' on) the Dock of the Bay" was released on Stax's Volt label. Co-written by Redding and guitarist Steve Cropper, the single reached No. 1 on Billboard's pop chart in March 1968, where it remained for four weeks. Two Grammys followed, along with the song's induction into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998.
Redding never heard the single. On Dec. 10, 1967—just 18 days after the recording session—the 26-year-old singer died in a plane crash in Wisconsin, killing everyone on board except Ben Cauley, the trumpeter in his band.
Mr. Cropper, pianist Booker T. Jones, trumpeter Wayne Jackson and Mr. Cauley recalled how the song was written and recorded, why sounds of surf and gulls were added, and the story behind Redding's famed whistling. Edited from interviews:
Steve Cropper: "In the fall of 1967, I was a producer at Stax Records in Memphis and guitarist in Booker T. & the MGs, the label's session band. In November, I was at the studio when Otis Redding called me from the Memphis airport."
"Usually when Otis came to town, he waited until he checked into the Holiday Inn before calling me to work with him on songs in his room. This time he couldn't wait. He said, "Crop, I've got a hit. I'm coming right over."
"When Otis walked in, he said, 'Crop, get your gut-tar.' I always kept a Gibson B-29 around. He grabbed it, tuned it to an open E-chord, which made the guitar easier to play slide. Then Otis played and sang a verse he had written: Sittin' in the mornin' sun/I'll be sittin' when the evenin' come/Watching the ships roll in/And then I watch 'em roll away again."
"I said, 'Otis, hold on. If a ship rolls, it will take on water and sink.' He said, 'That's what I want, Crop.' So we let it go and worked on the rest of the song."
"Otis told me he had started writing the song while playing in San Francisco. Producer Bill Graham must have let him stay on his houseboat in Sausalito, because Neil Young told me he had stayed on the boat right after Otis had left to come back East."
"When Otis and I finished writing the rest of the song's music and lyrics, I arranged the song and we scheduled studio time. On the date, I was on acoustic guitar, [Donald] Duck Dunn on bass, Al Jackson on drums, Booker on piano, Wayne Jackson on trumpet and two other horns."
Booker T. Jones: "I played piano instead of organ on most of Otis's songs. The keyboard supported his voice without getting in his way. "Dock of the Bay" was beautifully simplistic—all major chords."
"For some reason, the piano had been moved across the studio — so that the horns were on my right instead of across from me and Otis was to my left. Usually I saw him behind a partition but on this date I was next to him, which made it easier for him to hear me."
Wayne Jackson: "We rehearsed the horns with Booker. We always played a chord, with each of us taking a different note. What we put across behind Otis was simple and funky—like a call and response in church."
Mr. Cropper: "Otis always liked to ad-lib at the end of songs, so I added in about 10 measures of instrumental background for him to do so. But when the time came, Otis couldn't think of anything and started whistling, which, of course, made the song."Read the full article here: http://on.wsj.com/VHAED4
CBS News: '(Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay Turns 45'
45 years ago, Stax Records released Otis Redding's iconic song "(Sittin' on) The Dock of the Bay." The song was recorded just days before Redding's death at age 26. Charlie Rose reports.
Although he was only 26 years old at the time of his death, Redding had already released numerous hit songs and albums and become a successful performer, songwriter, producer and businessman. Recorded just three days before the plane crash, “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay,” became his 17th straight hit and first million-seller and remains one of his most popular songs.
iPad/iPhone/iOS/Mobile Users: Click here to watch the full video via CBS news: http://www.cbsn.ws/UGvjwx
Macon, GA: The Big “O” Youth Educational Dream Foundation has now officially changed its name to the Otis Redding Foundation. The Foundation has a new logo to accompany the name. However, its mission remains the same: Progress through Education – Enlightenment through Music”
“We are thrilled to enter this new phase,” says the Foundation’s executive director, Karla Redding-Andrews, daughter of Otis Redding, Jr. “The logo represents the soul and feel of Otis Redding, and with this new name we are sure to gain more national and international attention for the work we do to stress the importance of music and the arts.”
The Foundation continues its hard work in the world of
music and education by providing programs and scholarship opportunities. Scholarship recipient Roderick Cox, who received support from the Foundation and the Redding Estate from 2004 to 2011, is currently the assistant conductor for the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, and will be featured as a guest conductor during the Macon Symphony Orchestra’s 2014 season.
“Roderick is a shining example of what the Foundation sets out to accomplish,” says Zelma Redding, President of the Foundation’s Board of Directors. “We are so proud of everything he is doing and look forward to see him lead the Macon Symphony Orchestra next year.
The 6th annual Big “O” Singer/Songwriter Camp will be be held June 17-21, 2013 in Macon, Ga. where 30-35
aspiring songwriters, musicians and producers ages 13-17, attend workshops to enhance the areas of their talents.
“The camp and other programs presented by the Foundation will continue to bring incredible music education to the best and brightest young musicians in the country” states Mrs. Redding.
About the Otis Redding Foundation:
Otis Redding was dedicated to improving the quality of life for our community through the education and empowerment of its youth. Established in 2007 by Mrs. Zelma Redding in her husband’s honor, the Otis Redding Foundation, with its roots in music, has created educational awareness programs in the arts and humanities. These programs encourage individual
and team participation, build self-esteem and instill discipline.
To honor Otis’ dream, the Otis Redding Foundation provides opportunities for youth to improve their academic performance by helping them make choices in life that enrich rather than endanger. By providing programs that ignite dreams in our future generation of leaders, we remain dedicated to connecting the universal relevance of music to serve as a catalyst for education and other youth oriented initiatives.
Contact: Karla Redding-Andrews