Many may recognize those words as a line from the late Aretha Franklin’s anthemic 1967 hit song ‘Respect.’ What many may not know is that the song was written, performed, and released two years earlier by her Atlantic Records label mate (via a distribution with Stax Records), the legendary Otis Redding.
I heard a lot of Otis’ music growing up courtesy of my father. He always sounded so gritty, so emotional, so soulful…and so old! When I became a huge fan of his as a young adult, I couldn’t believe that he was only 26 years old when he died.
Otis, along with four members of his backup band, The Bar-Kays, died in a plane crash 55 years ago today. A few months later, his signature song, (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay, became the first posthumous number one song in the history of Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. It won two Grammy Awards a year later: Best R&B Song and Best Male R&B Vocal Performance.
When I listen to Otis, he still sounds so gritty, so emotional, and so soulful. I’m glad that’ll never get old.