Otis Redding

Otis Redding might have been the greatest male soul singer of the R & B era, building his reputation with Memphis' Stax Records when, for a brief moment, worlds collided and white psychedelia impacted black dance music. The son of a Baptist minister, Redding learned his music in church and took his gritty, gospel style from choirboy roots to pure soul audiences and a well-received appearance at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. Writing much of his own material, he drew his early inspiration from Little Richard, later infusing his style with Sam Cooke-type ballads, but didn't live to enjoy his cutting edge, hard-won popularity. Redding and four of his Bar-Kays bandmates perished in a December, 1967 airplane accident on their way to a Madison, Wisconsin gig, and "[Sittin' on] The Dock of the Bay," a tremendous number-one hit, made him a superstar posthumously, in 1968.

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