OTIS REDDING, September 9, 1941-December 10, 1967

A one-of-a-kind soul stylist equally adept at rave-up houserockers and soft, caressing ballads, Otis Redding is remembered as much for his potential as for what he actually accomplished. Toiling for years on the R&B circuit before a breakthrough performance at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival positioned him on the verge of mainstream stardom, he would die tragically in a small plane crash at age twenty-six.

The Macon, Georgia-native did not seemed destined for a recording career until given an audition at Stax Records while serving as a chauffeur for an aspiring band headed by Johnny Jenkins. Redding’s first release, "These Arms of Mine" (Volt 103; 1963), reached the Top Twenty on the national R&B charts. Stax immediately signed him to a long-term contract, and with Booker T and the M.G.s guitarist Steve Cropper serving as arranger/producer, Redding recorded a long string of R&B hits—many self-composed—including "Mr. Pitiful" (Volt 124; 1965; #41 pop, #10 R&B), "I’ve Been Loving You Too Long" (Volt 126; 1965; #21 pop, #2 R&B), "Respect" (Volt 128; 1965; #35 pop, #4 R&B), "Satisfaction" (Volt 132; 1966; #31 pop, #4 R&B), "My Lover’s Prayer" (Volt 136; 1966; #61 pop, #10 R&B), ""Try a Little Tenderness" (Volt 141; 1966; #4), "Tramp" (Stax 216; 1967; #26 pop, #2 R&B), and "Knock On Wood" (Stax 228; 1967; #30 pop, #8 R&B).

By the summer of 1967, when his Monterey appearance captured the imagination of white rock fans, Redding’s singles were beginning to become fixtures on the pop charts. The widely acclaimed Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, would take one of his compositions, "Respect" (Atlantic 2403; 1967), to the top of the pop charts. Furthermore, a mere two-and-a-half weeks before his death, he recorded a song that close associates felt would propel him to mainstream success, "(Sittin’ on the) Dock of the Bay" (Volt 157; 1968; #1 pop, #1 R&B).

Although only m sellers during his lifetime, Redding’s albums—all of which have been reissued as compact discs—have remained in demand up to the present day. The material from his original LP releases—Pain In My Heart (Atco 161; 1964; #103), The Great Otis Redding Sings Soul Ballads (Volt 411; 1965; #147), Otis Blue/Otis Redding Sings Soul (Volt 412; 1965; #75), The Soul Album (Volt 413; 1966; #54), Complete & Unbelievable…The Otis Redding Dictionary of Soul (Volt 415; 1966; #73), King & Queen (Stax 716; 1967; #36), Otis Redding Live In Europe (Volt 416; 1967; #32), The Dock of the Bay (Volt 419; 1968; #4), The Immortal Otis Redding (Atco 252; 1968; #59), and Otis Redding In Person At the Whiskey A Go Go (Atco 265; 1968; #52)—is also available through countless retrospective compilations.

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