About the song
If you are a fan of soul music, you probably know the song “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding. It is one of the most iconic and influential songs of the 20th century, and it has a fascinating history behind it. In this blog post, I will tell you how this song was written, recorded and released, and why it is so special.
Otis Redding was a talented singer and songwriter who rose to fame in the 1960s with his powerful voice and emotional delivery. He was signed to Stax Records, a label that specialized in soul music and had a house band called Booker T. & the M.G.’s. One of the members of this band was Steve Cropper, a guitarist and producer who collaborated with Redding on many songs, including “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay”.
The song was inspired by Redding’s experience in San Francisco, where he performed at the Monterey Pop Festival in June 1967. He was amazed by the reception he received from the audience, which included many rock fans who were not familiar with his music. He also enjoyed the scenery of the city, especially the bay area. He rented a houseboat in Sausalito, where he started writing the lyrics for the song. He wrote about his feelings of loneliness, boredom and uncertainty, as well as his appreciation for the beauty of nature.
He took his ideas to Memphis, where he met with Cropper at the Stax studio in November 1967. They worked on the song together, with Cropper adding more lyrics and arranging the music. They recorded two versions of the song, one with horns and one without. The final version had a folk-like sound, with acoustic guitar, bass, drums and organ. It also featured some unusual elements, such as whistling and sound effects of waves crashing on a shore.
Redding was very proud of the song and thought it would be a big hit. He planned to perform it at his next concert in Madison, Wisconsin. However, tragedy struck on December 10, 1967, when his plane crashed into a lake near the city, killing him and six others. He was only 26 years old.
The song was released posthumously in January 1968, and it became an instant success. It reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in March 1968, making it the first posthumous #1 single in US history. It also reached #3 on the UK Singles Chart and sold over four million copies worldwide. It won two Grammy Awards for Best R&B Song and Best Male R&B Vocal Performance in 1969. It was also inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998 and ranked #28 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time in 2004.
“(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” is a timeless song that resonates with people of all backgrounds and generations. It expresses a universal feeling of longing and hope that we can all relate to. It also showcases Redding’s talent and legacy as one of the greatest soul singers ever. It is a song that deserves to be celebrated and remembered.