Otis Redding Tribute at 75

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otis-redding-via-fbAt the time of Otis Redding‘s death at age 26 on December 10, 1967, he’d already recorded close to 10 albums’ worth of original studio tracks plus a number of dynamic live performances. The Crown Prince of Soul boasted a beginning others would have been happy to call the bulk of a career, and in the process had written such indelible songs as “That’s How Strong My Love Is,” “Pain in My Heart,” “Mr. Pitiful,” “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long,” Try A Little Tenderness,” “Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa/Sad Song,” and a few made famous by others like “Respect” by Aretha Franklin and Arthur Conley’s #1 hit “Sweet Soul Music,” which Otis wrote and produced. Redding was a proven master of soul music from soon after he stepped into Fame Studio in Memphis in 1962.

In early December, Redding had recorded a track that he and Steve Cropper had written, “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay,” that was a near-perfect meld of rock with soul. Many at Fame and Redding’s label Stax expressed doubts about it. Before Otis could track his final version, he and his backing band The Bar-Kays climbed into Redding’s twin-engine Beechcraft H18 to hit Cleveland, OH to appear on the Upbeat television show and play two nights at a club called Leo’s Casino. He was then slated to play the Factory nightclub in Madison, WI.

The plane radioed for permission to land at Truax Field in Madison but instead crashed into Lake Monona, a few miles from the airport. Seven of the eight men aboard, including Redding, died.

In early 1968, “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” became pop music’s first posthumous #1 hit. It would go on to sell over eight million copies.

The singer has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Georgia Music Hall of Fame and Songwriters Hall of Fame. He has been honored with a U.S. postage stamp and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

What a great cover!

What a great cover!

One of the most iconic soul albums of the ’60s, Otis Redding In Person at the Whisky a Go Go, is being expanded from one disc to six on a new boxed set release on its original label, Stax Records (now an imprint of Concord Bicycle Music). Otis Redding—Live At The Whisky A Go Go: The Complete Recordings will be released on October 21. It presents all of the concerts performed by the R&B great at the legendary Sunset Strip venue over three nights, in chronological order. The new release arrives six months after the 50th anniversary of Redding’s shows. (Pre-order here.)

Redding performed seven sets at the West Hollywood landmark, from April 8-10, 1966. Several of these recordings—remixed and remastered from the original 4-track analog tapes—will be made available for the first time.

Otis Redding Dictionary of SoulRhino Records is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the release of Redding’s 1966 classic album Complete & Unbelievable: The Otis Redding Dictionary of Soul with a two-disc deluxe edition. The expanded collection includes stereo and mono mixes of the album plus eight rare bonus tracks. It will be available on CD October 7. (Pre-order here.)

The original album, Redding’s fifth studio set, was recorded in the summer of 1966 at Stax Studios in Memphis. Together with Booker T. and the M.G.’s, pianist Isaac Hayes and the Memphis Horns, Redding recorded 12 songs for the album, including “Try A Little Tenderness” and “Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song).” The album peaked at #5 on the U.S. R&B charts and was once praised by critic Jon Landau as “The finest record ever to come out of Memphis and certainly the best example of modern soul ever recorded.”

Here’s a great live version of “Try a Little Tenderness”…

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