Legal name: Otis Ray Redding, Jr.
Otis Ray Redding, Jr. (September 9, 1941 – December 10, 1967) was an American singer-songwriter, record producer, arranger, and talent scout. He is considered one of the greatest singers in the history of American popular music and a seminal artist in soul and rhythm and blues. His singing style was powerfully influential among soul artists of the 1960s and helped exemplify the Stax sound.
Born and raised in the US state of Georgia, Redding quit school at age 15 to support his family, working with Little Richard's backing band, the Upsetters, and also performing at talent shows for prize money. In 1958, he joined Johnny Jenkins's band, the Pinetoppers, and toured the Southern states as a driver and musician. An unscheduled appearance on a Stax recording session led to a contract and his first single, "These Arms of Mine," in 1962. Stax released Redding's debut album Pain in My Heart two years later.
Initially popular mainly with African Americans, Redding later reached a wider American popular music audience. Along with his group, he first played small gigs in the American South, then performed in the western states at the popular Los Angeles night club Whisky a Go Go. European appearances included London, Paris and other major cities.
After appearing at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, Redding wrote and recorded his iconic "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay" with Steve Cropper. The song became the first posthumous number-one record on both the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B charts after his death in a plane crash. The Dock of the Bay became the first posthumous album to reach number one on the UK Albums Chart.
Redding's premature death devastated Stax. Already on the verge of bankruptcy, the label soon discovered that Atlantic Records owned the rights to his entire song catalog.
Redding received many posthumous accolades, including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He received the honorific nickname King of Soul. In addition to "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay," "Respect" and "Try a Little Tenderness" are among his best-known songs.