On this day we remember Otis Redding, and the beginning of a five week run as number one on the U.S. charts for his single, “(Sitting On) The Dock of the Bay”. Otis passed away in a plane crash on December 10, 1967, only three days after he had finished the second recording of his single. The song was later released on January 8, 1968, and would then move forward to top the U.K. charts as well.
The song was inspired by Redding’s visit to San Francisco, where he stayed in a boathouse and watched as the boats would come and go on the bay. Otis then collaborated with Steve Cropper, a guitarist who later on went to produce the single and added on certain features after Redding’s death such background sounds of seagulls and waves crashing. The recording also included whistling sounds, as recorded by Redding himself.
Redding was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989, recognized as a pioneer for the African American presence in music as well as being a soul, rhythm and blues artist. Redding’s legacy lived on through his influence on other music icons such as George Harrison, Marvin Gaye, and Janis Joplin.