January 8 – Otis Redding

Otis Redding – (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay

I’m only a few days in, and I’m already going to employ one of those words that will be difficult to avoid overusing as I move through 1968:  timeless.  You could say that about a lot of Otis Redding’s work in his way too brief life and career, but (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay, released 50 years ago today, just never gets old.  Co-written by Stax Records producer and Booker T. & the M.G.’s guitarist Steve Cropper, the lyrics came together the previous August while Redding was renting a houseboat in Sausalito, CA (hence the song’s theme) shortly after his historic appearance at the Monterey Pop Festival.  His final work on the song was on December 7, 1967.  Three days later Redding perished in a plane crash outside Madison, WI.  It became the first posthumous single to reach number one in the U.S.

On a personal note, this song was included on a Best of Atlantic Records LP box set my brothers owned.  As a result, to this day whenever I hear it on the radio, I think Hush by Deep Purple will come on next.  I hate it when that happens.

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-Stephen