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Otis Redding
Birth name Otis Ray Redding, Jr.
Born September 9, 1941(1941-09-09)
Dawson, Georgia, U.S.
Died December 10, 1967 (aged 26)
Madison, Wisconsin, U.S.
Genres Deep soul, Southern soul, Soul, Soul blues
Occupations singer-songwriter
Instruments vocals
Years active 1960–67
Labels Stax, Volt, Atco, Rhino, Sundazed
Website Official Website

Otis Ray Redding, Jr. (September 9, 1941 – December 10, 1967) was an American soul singer. Often called the "King of Soul", he is renowned for an ability to convey strong emotion through his voice.[1][2] According to the website of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (where he was inducted in 1989), Redding's name is "synonymous with the term soul, music that arose out of the black experience in America through the transmutation of gospel and rhythm and blues into a form of funky, secular testifying."[3] In addition, rock critic Jon Landau said in 1967 that '"Otis Redding is rock & roll".[4] Redding died in a plane crash at the age of 26, one month before his biggest hit, "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay", was released.

Contents

Biography

Early life

Redding was born in the small town of Dawson, Georgia. When he was 5, his family moved to Macon, Georgia. Redding sang in the choir at church, and as a teenager won the talent show at the Douglass Theatre for 15 weeks in a row.[5] His earliest influence was Little Richard. Richard Penniman (Little Richard) was also a Macon resident.[6] Redding said, "If it hadn't been for Little Richard, I would not be here. I entered the music business because of Richard – he is my inspiration. I used to sing like Little Richard, his Rock 'n' Roll stuff, you know. Richard has soul, too. My present music has a lot of him in it."[7]

Career

The sleeve notes accompanying the 1966 Atlantic album "Otis Blue – Otis Redding Sings Soul", written by Bob Rolontz, describe Redding's early career thus: 'Like all success stories, it was a long path for Otis Redding before he first hit on records. His musical inspiration was Little Richard, another soul singer of note. He entered and won a number of local amateur contests in his home town of Macon (also the home town of Little Richard). Redding became the vocalist with Johnny Jenkins and the Pinetoppers, a group that had started to establish itself in Southern colleges and universities. An early record that Otis Redding made with the group, "Love Twist", (which was released on Atlantic), created some regional action. A long time after that while Redding was still a member of the group, he recorded his own song "These Arms Of Mine", at the end of a Pinetoppers session. It became a solid hit, and Redding was on his way'.

In 1960, Redding began touring the South with Johnny Jenkins and The Pinetoppers. In addition to singing, Redding also served as Jenkins' driver since the bandleader did not possess a driver's license. That same year he made his first recordings, "Fat Gal" and "Shout Bamalama" with this group under the name "Otis Redding and The Pinetoppers" Issued on the Orbit and Confederate record labels before being picked up by King.

In 1962, Redding made his first real mark in the music business during a Johnny Jenkins session when, during studio time left over, he recorded "These Arms of Mine", a ballad that he had written. The song became a minor hit on Volt Records, a subsidiary of the renowned Southern soul label Stax, based in Memphis, Tennessee. His manager was a fellow Maconite, Phil Walden (who later co-founded Capricorn Records). Redding was also managed for a brief period by Walden's younger brother Alan Walden while Phil was overseas due to a military draft.[8] Otis Redding continued to release for Stax/Volt, and built his fan base by extensively touring a live show with support from fellow Stax artists Sam & Dave. Further hits between 1964 and 1966 included "Mr. Pitiful", "I Can't Turn You Loose" (a sped-up instrumental version was to become The Blues Brothers entrance theme music), "Try a Little Tenderness" (a remake of the 1930s standard by Harry Woods, Jimmy Campbell, and Reg Connelly, later featured in John Hughes' film Pretty in Pink), "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" (written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones), and "Respect" (later a smash hit for Aretha Franklin).

Redding wrote many of his own songs, which was unusual for the time, often with Steve Cropper (of the Stax house band Booker T. & the M.G.'s, who usually served as Otis's backing band in the studio). Soul singer Jerry Butler co-wrote another hit, "I've Been Loving You Too Long". One of Redding's few songs with a significant mainstream following was "Tramp," (1967) a duet with Carla Thomas.

In 1967, Redding performed at the large and influential Monterey Pop Festival. His extraordinary musical gifts were then exposed to a wider audience and may have contributed to his subsequent success as a popular music recording artist.

Death

On December 9, 1967, Redding and his backup band, The Bar-Kays, made an appearance in Cleveland, Ohio on the local "Upbeat" television show. That night they performed at Leo's Casino, a small venue club in Cleveland.[9] The next afternoon, Redding, his manager, the pilot, and four members of The Bar-Kays were killed when his Beechcraft 18 airplane crashed into Lake Monona in Madison, Wisconsin, on December 10, 1967. The two remaining Bar-Kays were Ben Cauley and James Alexander. Cauley was the only person aboard Redding's plane to survive the crash. Alexander was on another plane, since there were eight members in Redding's party and the plane could only hold seven, and it was Alexander's turn in the rotation to take a commercial flight. Cauley reported that he had been asleep until just seconds before impact, and recalled that upon waking he saw bandmate Phalon Jones look out a window and say, "Oh, no!" Cauley said the last thing he remembered before the crash was unbuckling his seatbelt. He then found himself in the frigid waters of the lake, grasping a seat cushion to keep afloat.[10]

Redding's body was recovered the next day when the lake bed was searched.[11] He was entombed on his private ranch in Round Oak, Georgia, 23 miles (37 km) north of Macon. The cause of the crash was never precisely determined.

Redding was survived by his wife Zelma, mother and father, his sons Dexter and Otis III and his daughter Karla.

Posthumous releases

"(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay" was recorded only three days before Redding's death. According to Nashid Munyan, curator of the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, Redding considered the song unfinished, having whistled the tune of one verse for which he intended to compose lyrics later[12], while Rob Bowman's book "Soulsville USA" claims that Steve Cropper had written a rap for him to speak over the song as it faded out, but Otis simply forgot the words. The song was released (with the place-holding whistling intact) in January 1968 and became Redding's only number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100, and the first posthumous number one single in U.S. chart history. "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay" was a significant stylistic departure from the bulk of his previous work, and might have presaged a change in direction for the singer. [13]

Shortly after Redding's death, Atlantic Records, distributor of the Stax/Volt releases, was purchased by Warner Bros. Stax was required to renegotiate its distribution deal, and found that Atlantic actually owned the entire Stax/Volt back catalog. [14] Stax was unable to regain the rights to their recordings, and severed their relationship with Atlantic. Atlantic also retained the rights to all unreleased Otis Redding masters. [14]

Redding had recorded a massive amount of material in late 1967 just before his death (it was from these sessions that "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay" emerged). Atlantic had enough material for three new Redding studio albums – The Immortal Otis Redding (1968), Love Man (1969), and Tell the Truth (1970) – which were all issued on Atlantic's Atco Records. [14] A number of successful singles emerged from these LPs, among them "Amen" (1968), "Hard to Handle" (1968), "I've Got Dreams to Remember" (1968), "Love Man" (1969), and "Look at That Girl" (1969). [14] Singles were also lifted from two live Atlantic-issued Redding albums, In Person at the Whisky a Go Go, recorded in 1966 and issued 1968 on Atco, and Monterey International Pop Festival, a Reprise Records release featuring some of the live Monterey Pop Festival performances of The Jimi Hendrix Experience on side one and all of Redding's on side two.

Legacy

Statue in Gateway Park

In 1993, the U.S. Post Office issued an Otis Redding 29 cents commemorative postage stamp. Redding was inducted in the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1994, and in 1999 he posthumously received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame listed three Redding recordings ("Shake," "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay," and "Try a Little Tenderness") among its list of "The 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll." [15] Rolling Stone ranked Redding #21 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time[16].

In 2002, the city of Macon honored its native son, unveiling a memorial statue of Redding in the city's Gateway Park. The park is next to the Otis Redding Memorial Bridge, which crosses the Ocmulgee River. The Rhythm and Blues Foundation named Redding as the recipient of its 2006 Legacy Award.

In September 2007, the first official DVD anthology of Redding's live performances was released by Concord Music Group, the current owners of the Stax catalog. The DVD, entitled Dreams To Remember: The Legacy of Otis Redding, featured 16 classic full-length performances and 40 minutes of new interviews documenting Redding's life and career.[17] It was premiered at the Douglass Theatre.

In 2008 American music magazine Rolling Stone named Otis the eighth greatest singer of all time, and in 2010, GQ named him the best looking man of all time. [18]

Exhibition

In commemoration of the 40th anniversary of Redding's passing, the Georgia Music Hall of Fame presented the first major exhibition of music, photographs, film and artifacts documenting the singer's life and musical legacy (September 14, 2007 – September 10, 2008). The exhibition was named "Museum Exhibition of the Year" by the Georgia Association of Museums and Galleries in January 2008.[citation needed]

In popular culture

  • Arthur Conley made mention of Otis Redding in his 1967 song "Sweet Soul Music" with the line "Spotlight on Otis Redding now Singing fa fa fa fa...".
  • Beginning with their 1993–1994 performances of the song Hey Nineteen, the band Steely Dan replaced the phrase "Hey Nineteen/That's Aretha Franklin/She don't remember/Queen of Soul" with "Hey Nineteen/That's Otis Redding/She don't remember/King of Soul." While singing the song in the Two Against Nature tour of 2000, Donald Fagen often left the name attribution blank for the singing-along audiences to fill in, and when most of them sang "Aretha Franklin," he corrected them by saying, "No, that's Otis Redding."
  • Barry Gibb has stated in numerous interviews that the song To Love Somebody was written for Otis Redding, but died before he was able to record it.
  • The Doors, fans of Redding, added this verse before "Runnin' Blue": "Poor Otis dead and gone, left me here to sing his song. Pretty little girl with the red dress on, Poor Otis dead and gone." Singer Jim Morrison had been singing those lines on their tour the year before. Morrison also added in the same song the line "Got to find the dock of the bay", which was the name of Redding's compilation album 'The Dock of the Bay' which was released in 1968.
  • The Grateful Dead frequently covered "Hard To Handle" during their concerts.
  • The Righteous Brothers song "Rock and Roll Heaven" features the verse: "Otis brought us all to the dock of the bay", a tribute to Redding
  • A likeness of Redding appears as an evil version of himself in Nightmares & Dreamscapes, adapted from Stephen King's short story You Know They Got a Hell of a Band. Redding is portrayed as a police officer in the town of Rock N Roll Heaven, which is populated by late rock and roll legends.
  • The 1986 film Pretty In Pink featured Duckie (Jon Cryer) dancing and singing along to "Try a Little Tenderness". He states his admiration for Otis.
  • The 1986 film Top Gun features "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay".
  • The band Okkervil River wrote a song called "Listening to Otis Redding at Home during Christmas" on their album Don't Fall in Love with Everyone You See.
  • The song "Hard to Handle" was covered by The Black Crowes on their 1990 debut album Shake Your Money Maker.
  • Redding's music was featured in the 1991 film The Commitments, including "Mr Pitiful", "Try a Little Tenderness" and "Hard to Handle".
  • In Nick Hornby's novel High Fidelity, protagonist Rob Fleming purchases a copy of the 1976 bootleg 45 single "You Left the Water Running".
  • The 2000 Everclear album Songs from an American Movie, Vol. 1: Learning How to Smile, features a song titled "Otis Redding", which contains the lyric, "I wish I could sing like Otis Redding, I wish I could play this guitar in tune."
  • In 2005, a sample from "It's Too Late" appeared on the track "Gone" from Kanye West.
  • In the 1988 movie Bull Durham, the character Nuke LaLoosh (Tim Robbins), sings the wrong words to "Try a Little Tenderness" (thinking the line "young girls, they do get weary" is actually "young girls, they do get woolly"), leading Crash Davis (Kevin Costner) to angrily correct him.
  • In the 1987 film Dirty Dancing, Jennifer Grey's character "Baby" walks in on a group of resort employees dancing to "Love Man" and she is forever transformed. The song "These Arms of Mine" was also on the soundtrack.
  • In the 1993 film Grumpy Old Men, Jack Lemmon's character "John", after making love to Ariel (Ann-Margret), dances around his house to "Love Man".
  • "My Lover's Prayer" was featured in "From Where To Eternity", a season two episode of the TV series The Sopranos.
  • The song "For Your Precious Love" plays during the opening scene of the 2006 French film Tell No One
  • In the 1985 film Heaven Help Us, two characters dance to "I've Been Loving You Too Long"
  • Redding's version of "White Christmas" was featured in the 2003 film "Love Actually".
  • The Blues Brothers Band used the song "Can't Turn You Loose" as their entrance/exit theme for their concerts and the movie.
  • Arthur Conley released a song, "Otis Sleep On" in 1968.
  • Wong Kar Wai's first feature length English-language film "My Blueberry Nights" (2007) featured Redding's "Try a Little Tenderness" several times.
  • Mae West sang "Hard to Handle" in the 1970 film Myra Breckinridge
  • In 1994, Pearl Jam performed "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay".
  • In John Mayer's Where the Light Is the intro to his song "Gravity" is Otis' song Dreams to Remember.
  • In 2007, Guy Sebastian covered three Redding songs on his The Memphis Album: "I've Been Loving You Too Long]]," "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay," "Hard to Handle."
  • De La Soul sample the whistling melody from (Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay in their song "Eye Know."
  • In the Holiday movie "This Christmas" Chris Brown's character Baby sings Try A Little Tenderness
  • In the 2000 movie Duets, Todd Woods (Paul Giamatti) and Reggie Kane (Andre Braugher) sing a karaoke duet of "Try A Little Tenderness."
  • 5 songs by Otis Redding have been released as downloadable content for the rhythm video game Rock Band on February 16th, 2010[1].

Discography

References

  1. ^ Pat Browne, The guide to United States popular culture, 2001, p. 672
  2. ^ Richard J. Ripani, The New Blue Music: Changes in Rhythm & Blues, 1950–1999, 2006, p. 85.
  3. ^ Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductees
  4. ^ http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,304776,00.html
  5. ^ "Otis Redding biography". Redding Family Properties. http://www.otisredding.com/main.php4#. Retrieved 2007-02-24. 
  6. ^ http://www.wliw.org/PRODUCTIONS/otis.html
  7. ^ White, Charles. (2003), p. 229. The Life and Times of Little Richard: The Authorised Biography. Omnibus Press.
  8. ^ Walden, Alan. "Remembering Otis Redding". jpp-product.club.fr. Retrieved August 27, 2008.
  9. ^ "Leo's Casino". The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History. Case Western Reserve University. 2001-05-23. http://ech.cwru.edu/ech-cgi/article.pl?id=LSC. Retrieved 2010-01-01. 
  10. ^ "Eyewitness Tells of Otis Redding's Violent Death", Jet, December 28, 1967
  11. ^ Associated Press. (1967, December 12). "BODY OF SINGER RECOVERED FROM CRASHED PLANE."
  12. ^ Dock Of The Bay by Otis Redding Songfacts
  13. ^ Rolling Stone review for Otis Redding: The Dock of the Bay
  14. ^ a b c d Bowman, Rob (1997). Soulsville U.S.A.: The Story of Stax Records. New York: Schirmer Trade. ISBN 0825672848. Pg. 138–142
  15. ^ 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll
  16. ^ "The Immortals: The First Fifty". Rolling Stone Issue 946. Rolling Stone. http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/5939214/the_immortals_the_first_fifty. 
  17. ^ "Dreams to Remember: The Legacy of Otis Redding' DVD to be Released September 18". http://worldmusiccentral.org/article.php/otis_reading_dreams_to_remember_dvd_07. Retrieved 2007-10-24. 
  18. ^ Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductees

External links

http://www.otisredding.fr/ THE OTIS REDDING FRENCH SITE


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Otis Ray Redding, Jr. (1941-09-091967-12-10) was an American soul singer.

Quotes

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Otis Redding (September 9, 1941 - December 10, 1967) was an American singer and songwriter. He wrote and sang many popular songs. He was killed in a plane crash at the age of 26. Shortly after his death, his song "Sittin' on the Dock of The Bay", went to # 1 on the charts. He also wrote the song, "Respect," which became a smash hit for Aretha Franklin.


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