AKA Otis Redding, Jr.
Birthplace: Dawson, GA
Location of death: Madison, WI
Cause of death: Accident - Airplane
Remains: Buried, Big-O Ranch, Round Oak, GA
Race or Ethnicity: Black
Sexual orientation: Straight
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Dock of the Bay
The son of a Baptist minister, soul legend Otis Redding spent most of his childhood living in a housing project in Macon, Georgia, where his father attempted to support the family through work at the nearby Robins Air Force Base, but was frequently hindered by chronic poor health. Not surprisingly, Otis was given his first opportunity to explore his musical interests as a member of the choir at the Vineville Baptist Church, and established his exceptional abilities at an early age. His family's financial hardships motivated him to put his talents to practical use as soon as he could: dropping out of high school in the tenth grade, the young vocalist brought in extra money by competing in local talent shows (until he was banned as a result of winning too many) and began earning a regular income as a member of the R&B group The Upsetters.
After performing at the Grand Duke Club during 1959, Redding enlisted former high school friend Phil Walden as a manager, and through Walden's connections a position with the touring act Johnny Jenkins and The Pinetoppers was arranged for the singer in 1960. That same year he made his first recordings, using the Pinetoppers as his support band for the Little Richard-influenced tracks She's All Right and Shout Bamalama -- the former being released under the name Otis and The Shooters on the Trans World label, and the latter surfacing as a Pinetoppers track on the Confederate label. A significant career break finally arrived two years later, when, during a lull in a Johnny Jenkins studio session, he was allowed to record the self-penned ballad These Arms of Mine; the song subsequently became a moderate crossover hit for the Stax affiliate Volt Records, who immediately signed him as a solo artist.
Redding quickly expanded on this initial success with his energetic stage act, while gradually building up his chart success between '63 and '64 through singles such as Pain In My Heart, That's What My Heart Needs, Mr. Pitiful, and That's How Strong My Love Is. In 1965 a break into the top 40 was finally achieved with his original song I've Been Loving You Too Long, featured on his third full-length release Otis Blue; the album included several minor hits as well, including The Rolling Stones cover Satisfaction (the Stones having already paid tribute to the singer with versions of his singles Pain In My Heart and That's How Strong My Love Is), a version of Sam Cooke's Shake and another Redding original Respect (later given a wider audience by Aretha Franklin). Despite his strong following with soul listeners, however, he still remained a marginal figure in relation to the pop mainstream.
The next step forward in Redding's career arrived with his 1966 album The Otis Redding Dictionary Of Soul and his contemporary rendering of the old standard Try A Little Tenderness. This was followed by the Carla Thomas duet Tramp (1967), which simultaneously placed him in the US and UK top 30 (also reaching #2 in the R&B charts). His presence on the Stax-sponsored touring review "Hit The Road", and a triumphant appearance at the largely rock-oriented Monterey Pop Festival, had the singer poised on the verge of a mainstream breakthrough at the end of 1967; sadly, he would be denied the opportunity to witness the culmination of his years of hard work. On December 10th, the small plane bearing Redding and six of his associates crashed into Lake Monona in Wisconsin, resulting in the deaths of the pilot and all passengers save for The Bar-Kays member Ben Cauley. His song (Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay, completed three days before the crash, became his first mainstream #1 several months later.
Father: Otis Redding, Sr. (Baptist minister)
Wife: Zelma Atwood (m. Aug-1961, until his death, four children)
Son: Dexter Redding (musician)
Daughter: Karla Redding Andrews (entrepreneur)
Son: Otis Redding III (musician)
High School: Ballad Hudson High School
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 1989
Songwriters Hall of Fame
Grammy Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male (for (Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay) (1968)
Grammy Best Rhythm & Blues Song (for (Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay) (1968)
Grammy Hall of Fame Award (for (Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay) (1998)
FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
Monterey Pop (26-Dec-1968) · Performer
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