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Tue, 09.09.1941

Otis Redding, Soul Singer born

Otis Redding

On this date in 1941, Otis Redding was born. He was a Black singer and entertainer.

He was born in Dawson, GA. He began playing drums in school and was paid six dollars an hour on Sundays to accompany gospel groups appearing on local radio station WIBB.  He stayed in school until the tenth grade, leaving to help support his family. Redding began his recording career in the early 1960s as a Little Richard-styled shouter.  He was working in the band of guitarist Johnny Jenkins at the time, and in 1962, he recorded the ballad These Arms of Mine.

When it became an R&B hit, Redding's solo career was on its way, though the hits didn't really start to take hold for about three years, when Mr. Pitiful, I've Been Loving You Too Long, I Can't Turn You Loose, and Respect (later turned into a huge pop smash by Aretha Franklin) were all big sellers. Redding wrote much of his own material, sometimes with guitarist Steve Cropper. Yet at the time, his success was primarily confined to the soul market; his singles charted only mildly on the pop listings.

He was tremendously respected by many white groups, particularly the Rolling Stones, who covered Redding's "That's How Strong My Love Is" and "Pain in My Heart." One of Redding's biggest hits was a duet with fellow Stax star Carla Thomas, "Tramp," in 1967, the same year he performed to great acclamation at the Monterey Pop Festival.

Redding's biggest triumph, however, came just days before his death, when he recorded ("Sittin' on) The Dock of the Bay," a significant rise in the examination of intensely personal emotions. One of the most influential soul singers of the 1960s, Redding embodied to many listeners the power of Southern "Deep Soul," an emotional voice with both party songs and emotionally aching ballads.

Redding died young, at the age of 26, in a plane crash in Wisconsin on December 10, 1967.

Heart & Soul
A Celebration of Black Music Style in America 1930-1975
by Merlis Davin Seay, Foreword by Etta James
Copyright 2002, Billboard Books
ISBN 0-8230-8314-4

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