New Collection Showcases Redding’s Songwriting Evolution in ’67
“(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay” Celebrates 50th Anniversary
By Harvey Kubernik c 2018
Otis Redding was on top of the world in 1967, highlighted by a career-defining performance at the Monterey Pop Festival. Returning to Memphis that
fall, Redding began to explore different musical influences when he entered the studio to record his next album. Tragically, those sessions were cut short after only a few weeks when the singer died in a plane crash on December 10, 1967, with four members of his backing band the Bar-Kays when Redding’s private airplane crashed in a Madison, Wisconsin lake. Singers Johnnie Taylor and Joe Simon were among the pallbearers at Redding’s funeral in Macon City, Georgia. Booker T. Jones played organ to the grieving congregation and Jerry Wexler provided the eulogy.
It was a day that dramatically and constantly reminds us about Redding’s frozen legacy that at least now can be heard again on these recordings. While there will never be a definitive idea of what Redding’s next album would have been this new Dock of the Bay Sessions is the first to show what could have been.
On February 23, 1968 the world was graced with the first posthumously-released Otis Redding Volt-Atlantic album, Dock of the Bay, one which was destined to be the most successful of his posthumous releases as a result of its title track.
And now, a half a century later, on May 18, 2018, the Rhino label issued Dock of the Bay Sessions as part of the ongoing 50th anniversary celebration of “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay.” March 16th marked the actual 50th anniversary of the single topping both the pop and R&B charts in 1968 and becoming Redding’s first #1 hit. Continue reading