If his twin engine Beechcraft airplane hadn't plunged into the frigid waters of Wisconsin's Lake Monona in Madison on December 10th, 1967, Otis Redding would have celebrated his 68th birthday last September 9th. His body was recovered from the lake bed the day after the crash, he was just 26 years old when he died.
This isn't meant to be a detailed overview of Otis' career, more of a note to remind what an amazing musician he was, though his life had enough twists and turns to make for an engrossing biography. He was Joe Frazier to Marvin Gaye's Muhammad Ali - while Marvin could precisely take a song apart like Ali an opponent, Otis would bowl one over with the shear strength of his voice, much the bulldog Frazier was in the ring.
In 1962, while a member of Chitlin' Circuit regulars, Johnny Jenkins and The Pinetoppers (where he did double-duty as a driver), Redding used left over studio time to record These Arms of Mine, which climbed to #20 on the national R&B charts. His church choir days evident, it was the first of a series of 6/8 time Gospel-tinged ballads his record company released, setting the tone for his early career.
After a few successful tours of Europe, Otis finally moved from just another circuit soul shouter to superstar in the eyes (and ears) of the American public after his riveting appearance at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, where he brought the house down.
Ironically, Redding finally landed that number one hit he spent a career chasing, (Sittin' On The) Dock Of The Bay, one month after the plane crash. Below you'll find his first recording, a few choice songs with some live cuts from the Whiskey a Go Go and Monterey albums, along with an alternative take of Dock Of The Bay - a bit more sparse, changed vocal phrasings, along with a different whistle on the fade out. I hope you enjoy the tunes as much as I do, to these ears they sound as fresh as the first time around.
Monterey Pop Festival: I've Been Loving You Too Long & Satisfaction
Otis Redding: These Arms Of Mine
Otis Redding: Mr. Pitiful
Otis Redding: Respect
Otis Redding: Satisfaction
Otis Redding: I Can't Turn You Loose [live]
Otis Redding: I've Been Loving You Too Long [live]
Otis Redding: Try A Little Tenderness [live]
Otis Redding: Hard To Handle
Otis Redding: (Sittin' On The) Dock Of The Bay
Otis Redding: (Sittin' On The) Dock Of The Bay (Alt Take 2) tnx LS