Otis Redding was a child when he started singing and playing with the Vineville Baptist Choir. He also tried out his skills playing with the school band. His obvious natural proficiency led him to enter talent competitions at the Douglass Theatre. You see, Otis was more than just prodigiously talented he was thoughtful and kind-hearted and wanted to earn money for his family. That he did and after winning the $5 top prize 15-times in a row, he was banned from the competition.
The ban led him to start out playing with his idol Little Richard’s backing band The Upsetters, and by the early 1960s, when he was performing with The Pinetoppers, it was clear Otis was a dynamic and unstoppable talent.
In 1962, after recording tracks with The PInetoppers at Stax Records, co-owner Jim Stewart allowed Otis to cut some solo material. The result was “These Arms of Mine”.
From there, Otis Redding went onto become one of the biggest stars of the 1960s—especially in Europe where he was viewed as one of the greatest artists on the planet. In 1967 Redding outsold that year’s combined record sales for Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra, and kicked Elvis Presley’s sorry ass from the top of the Melody Maker‘s World’s Greatest Male Vocalist chart. Then he eventually conquered America with his mind-nlowing set at the Monterey Pop festival—where he turned on thousands of hippies to the joys of R’n'B and soul. It should have been the start of an even greater career but it was tragically cut short when redding died in a plane crash in December of that year.
All these years later, you can still have sunshine on a cloudy day with Otis Redding. Here he is a selection of The Big O, the King of Soul at his best in Paris and London performing some of his best known and biggest hits “Respect”, “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long”, “Shake”, “My Girl”, and “Try a Little Tenderness”.
Push back the chairs, turn it up and cut a rug.