Rhythm and Blues Singer. He was one of the most popular and critically acclaimed soul vocalist, songwriter and musician representatives of the R&B style known as Southern soul, and was one of the first artists to broaden his appeal to white audiences. Born in Dawson, Georgia, the son of a Baptist minister, he grew up in poverty in the Tindall Heights housing projects of Macon, Georgia, where he started singing in the church choir of Vineville Baptist Church. He later attended Ballad Hudson High School and participated in the band. He dropped out of high school in the tenth grade, determined to help his family financially, and would work with singer Little Richard's former band, “The Upsetters”, serving as both chauffeur and vocalist as the group played the fraternity-house circuit. He also began to compete in local talent shows for the $5 prize, winning 15 straight times. He was discovered while singing with Macon guitarist Johnny Jenkins band, “The Pine Toppers”, and first recorded as a member of that group for the tiny Confederate label in 1960. In October 1962, Jenkins and the group were booked to record songs at Stax Records in Memphis, Tennessee, and Otis Redding was invited at the end session to make his first solo album "These Arms of Mine." The album became the first of a series of soul ballads by Redding. During the mid-1960s, he toured the United States playing numerous one-night engagements in theatres such as the Apollo in New York City, New York and clubs frequented by African-Americans. He also toured Canada, Europe, and the Caribbean, and his concert tours were among the biggest box office successes of any touring performer during this time. Ironically, although he consistently impacted the R&B charts beginning with the Top Ten appearance of "Mr. Pitiful" in 1965, none of Redding's singles fared better than #21 on the pop Top Forty. In 1965, he moved his family into a spacious 300-acre property, in Round Oak, Georgia he called "The Big O Ranch". In September of that same year he released “Otis Blue/ Otis Redding Swings Soul”, which was recorded in 24 hours and feature the song "Respect" as well as the now-celebrated soul ballads, "I've Been Loving Yoo Too Long," and "A Change is Gonna Come." The song that many consider Redding's greatest, "Try A Little Tenderness," was later recorded in 1967. On December 10, 1967 in Lake Monona, Madison, Wisconsin, Otis Redding, along with six others were killed in a plane crash during a storm en route to a concert in Madison. About 4,500 mourners crowded Macon's City Auditorium for Redding's funeral a week later. He was buried on the grounds of his family estate. Four months after his death, Otis Redding would achieve his first American number one album for his hit which hit No. 1 on the pop and R&B charts. “(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay" (1967) released in January of 1968 later won Redding two 1968 Grammy Awards. He has received several other honors since his death, including induction into the the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1989, The Georgia Music Hall of Fame, the naming of a bridge in Macon after Redding and the United States Postal Service issuing a commemorative stamp in his honor on June 16, 1993. In 1992, a release of the CD "The Very Best of Otis Redding” was issued and soon went gold after selling more than 500,00 copies.
Bio by: Curtis Jackson