Born today in 1941, the late, great Otis Ray Redding, Jr., may have been from Dawson, Georgia, but his name will forever be connected with Memphis, Tennessee. It was there where the singer, songwriter, talent scout, record producer and arranger crafted the music that would define the legendary Stax Records sound and launch him into international stardom as one of the most influential soul artists of the 1960s.
Redding is probably most known for his monster hit, "(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay," which became the first posthumous Number One record on both the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B charts. It was the lead-off track from his posthumously released 1968 LP, The Dock of the Bay, which became the first posthumous album to hit Number One on the UK albums chart.
Tragically, Redding died in a plane crash in 1967 at the age of 26. Later, James Brown claimed in his autobiography, The Godfather of Soul, that he warned Redding not to take that ill-fated flight, which took off, despite warnings, in heavy rain and fog. The only survivor of the crash was Bar-Kays member Ben Cauley.
Take a moment to remember the man known as "The King of Soul" and enjoy this video of his performance of his signature track "Try a Little Tenderness," originally written in 1932 by Jimmy Campbell, Reg Connelly and Harry M. Woods and previously covered by Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra. Redding died just a day after this performance. He would have been 72 today.
"If there’s one song, one performance that really sort of sums up Otis and what he’s about, it’s ‘Try a Little Tenderness,’" said Stax co-founder Jim Stewart. "That one performance is so special and so unique that it expresses who he is."