Today we observe the anniversary of the birth of the incomparable soul singer Otis Redding. Among other things, Redding was the artist responsible for Aretha Franklin’s breakthrough song “Respect.” Franklin recorded the song in 1967 at her Atlantic recording session in New York City after she returned from her initial Atlantic session in Muscle Shoals. It turned out to be the breakthrough that turned Aretha into a star overnight after years of struggle. According to Peter Guralnick in Sweet Soul Music — a magnificent book — Redding complained with great foresight to Atlantic executive Jerry Wexler upon hearing Aretha’s version
Comments: Oh, hell yes.
One of the best reasons to read Power Line is to experience their love of the classics, and by classics I include the essential music that accompanied me on Top 40 radio when I was a child. Otis Redding was a master, as good a soul singer as one could ever find. If you don´t yet know about him, do yourself a favor and buy some of his albums. I wish I could be there to savor your reaction to Otis´s work. Here is Otis doing the Stones´ "Satisfaction" better than the original.
Amazing, isn´t it, that such a great performer and personality could also be a songwriter of enduring classics--- and all this prior to his death at 26? Even though I know how young he was, I always have to go back and check on his age, and feel bad all over again.
Thank you, Scott Johnson. Thank you, OP, for posting.
I cried when Otis Redding died. Twenty-six year old. "Incomparable soul singer" - one can only imagine what he could have done through the years with that wonderful talent. He still is one of my all-time favorites. There was so much good talent back then, and he was one of the very best.
Yes, I remember hearing Aretha´s R-E-S-P-E-C-T when it was burning up the air waves back in the day. There were a lot of things that I didn´t like about those days, but the music was not one of them.
Here´s another song that Otis was known for: "Fa Fa Fa Fa Fa (Sad Song)" [His biggest song was the posthumous "(Sitting on the) Dock of the Bay."] I´m not certain, but it looks like Chet Baker behind Otis, playing trumpet in this video. Yes, Aretha did take "Respect" from him, but great artists can do that by putting their indelible stamp on a promising song. At some level all great songwriters expect that to happen.* Otis Redding´s song "Fa Fa Fa Fa Fa (Sad Song)" was alluded to in Arthur Conley´s big 1967 single "Sweet Soul Music." I could listen to this music all day long. And frequently do.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rkWIAsCeJ1o [Redding: "Fa Fa Fa Fa Fa (Sad Song)"]
*(The best example of taking a song away is what Eva Cassidy did with Harold Arlen and E. Y. Harburg´s "Over the Rainbow." If you can listen to this song all the way through without tears, there might something wrong with you. Eva, too, left the world early, tragically, at age 33. Melanoma.)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccCnL8hArW8 (Eva Cassidy: get out some Kleenex)
I´m certain that the music from the late 60s and early 70s was more creative than the modern productions. The old time bands did it themselves. They didn´t hire manufacturers to fabricate songs for them.
Redding complained with great foresight to Atlantic executive Jerry Wexler upon hearing Aretha’s version of “Respect” for the first time on playback in the studio: “I just lost my song. That girl took it away from me.”
No doubt Otis (and his heirs) cash those royalty checks, though. ;)
Sitting on the Dock of the Bay is one of those songs that mark a time in my life. You know - those songs that when you hear them the take you immediately back to a specific place and time? Respect doesn´t do it for me - I could never actually sing along with it. But every time I hear Otis Redding singing ´Dock´ - I´m 16 and 17 again.
Otis Redding one of the greats of soul music. Blog mentions that he collaborated with Jerry Butler on a song. Jerry Butler sang one of the great songs of the sixties, Make It Easy On Yourself. Love that song.
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