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" Final Resting Place of Otis Redding"
9th September 1941 - 10th December 1967
Born Macon, Georgia
Best known for his smash hit, "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay".
Died when his plane crashed at Wisconsin.
Buried on the Family Estate, Round Oak, Georgia.
Redding was born in the small town of Dawson, Georgia. At the age of 5, he moved with his family to Macon, Georgia. He sang in the choir of the Vineville Baptist Church, and became something of a local celebrity as a teenager after winning a local Sunday night talent show 15 weeks in a row.
In 1960, Redding began touring the South with Johnny Jenkins and The Pinetoppers. That same year he made his first recordings, "She's All Right" and "Shout Bamalama" with this group under the name "Otis and The Shooters". In 1962, he made his first real mark in the music business during a Johnny Jenkins session when he recorded "These Arms of Mine," a ballad that Redding himself had written. The song became a minor hit on Volt Records, a subsidiary of renowned "Southern soul" label Stax, based in Memphis, Tennessee. His manager was fellow Maconite Phil Walden (who later founded Capricorn Records). Otis Redding continued to release for Stax/Volt, and built his fanbase by extensively touring a legendarily electrifying live show with support from fellow Stax artists Sam and Dave. Further hits between 1964 and 1966 included "Mr. Pitiful", "I Can't Turn You Loose" (to become The Blues Brothers entrance theme music, "Try a Little Tenderness", "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" (The Rolling Stones song), and "Respect" (later a smash hit for Aretha Franklin).
Redding wrote many of his own songs, which was unusual for the time, often with Steve Cropper (of Stax house band Booker T & the MG's, who usually served as Otis' backing band in the studio). Soul singer Jerry Butler co-wrote another hit "I've Been Loving You Too Long". One of his few songs with a significant mainstream following was "Tramp" (1967) with Carla Thomas. Later that year, Redding played at the massively influential Monterey Pop Festival.
Redding and six others were killed when the plane on which they were traveling crashed into Lake Monona in Madison, Wisconsin on December 10, 1967. Ben Cauley, one of the members of Redding's backup band, The Bar-Kays, was the only person aboard the plane to survive. He had been asleep until just seconds before impact, and recalled that upon waking he saw bandmate Phalon Jones look out a window and say, "Oh, no!" Cauley then unbuckled his seat belt, and that was his final recollection before finding himself in the frigid waters of the lake, grasping a seat cushion to keep himself afloat. Otis Redding's body was recovered when the lake bed was dragged with a grappling hook and photos exist of his body being brought out of the water. The cause of the crash was never precisely determined. Redding was only 26 years old when he died. A persistent Madison local urban legend continues to hold that the body was never recovered; generally asserting that an attache case with a large sum of money likewise disappeared. Redding was laid to rest in a tomb on his private ranch in Round Oak, Georgia, 23 miles north of Macon.
"(Sittin' on) the Dock of the Bay" was recorded only three days prior to Redding's death. It was released the next month and became his first #1 single and first million-seller. The fact that "(Sittin' on) the Dock of the Bay" ultimately became Redding's greatest commercial success is notable, not only because its release came after his death, but also because the song is actually a significant stylistic departure from the bulk of his other work. A few further records were posthumously released, including "Hard to Handle" (1968).
His sons Dexter and Otis III founded together with cousin Mark Locket the funk/disco-band "The Reddings" in 1978.
In 2002, the city of Macon honored its native son, unveiling a memorial statue of Redding in the city's Gateway Park.