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Sitting On the Dock of the Bay With Otis Redding

Otis Redding was a very talented young man who was an American singer, songwriter, record producer, arranger, and talent scout. He rose up to become a major R&B artist in the 1960s. After he had appeared at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 he wrote his best-known song “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay”. It became the first posthumous number one record on the Billboard Hot 100 and the R&B charts after Otis Redding tragically died in a plane crash. The Dock of the Bay also became the first posthumous album to rise up to number one on the UK Albums chart.

Otis Redding made his debut at the popular club in Los Angeles, California Whisky a Go Go and went on to perform in London, Paris, and other cities in Europe. He has received many posthumous accolades such as the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He was only 26 when he died so suddenly and tragically. Other songs which he is known for are “Respect” and “Try a Little Tenderness”. Talent ran in the family as his father was a gospel singer.

He became popular at the time when he released “These Arms of Mine” which went on to sell over 800,000 copies in 1962. One of his popular albums was The Great Otis Redding Sings Soul Ballads and this included memorable songs like “Chained and Bound”, “Come to Me”, and “That’s How Strong My Love Is”. Another album released in 1965 Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul included the song “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long”. In 1966 he took a European tour and a year later he came out with the album King & Queen singing with Carla Thomas. This duet album became gold. He then returned to Europe and came out with a live album Otis Redding Live in Europe.

In 1967 came his performance at the Monterey Pop Festival singing his own song “Respect”. Then came another popular song “Sweet Soul Music” and afterward the ever popular “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay”. While traveling to performances in a plane in poor weather conditions the plane crashed into Lake Monona, Bar-Kays leaving only one surviving band member Ben Cauley. The crash was never explained and it was the end of a most successful rising star Otis Redding. His death came just three days after recording “Dock of the Bay” and left behind his wife Zelma and three children.

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In November of 1997, a memorial plaque was placed on the lakeside deck of the Madison Convention Center and booking agencies in Wisconsin. There is a statue “Otis Redding Sittin’ On the Dock of the Bay” in Gateway Park which was put up in 2003 in Macon, Georgia. Here is also the Otis Redding Memorial Bridge crossing the Ocmulgee River and the city also has the Otis Redding Memorial Library.


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