The final days of Otis Redding

Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay” spent 4 weeks atop Billboard’s Scorching one hundred beginning in March 1968, however Redding by no means knew it: He died in a aircraft crash Dec. 10, 1967. He was 26.

Redding recorded the music simply days earlier than. His good friend, guitarist and producer Steve Cropper, seventy six, tells The Submit how excited Redding was when he referred to as him.

“I’ve obtained successful,” Redding stated. “I’m bringing it proper now.”

As Cropper recollects it, Redding bumped into Stax, their Memphis, Tenn., recording studio, saying, “Cropper, get your guh-tar.” After which he sang a few of the introspective lyrics he’d written throughout a keep at promoter Invoice Graham’s boathouse in Sausalito, Calif.

They completed the track in about an hour that Wednesday, however felt one thing was lacking. Cropper advised they get the Staple Singers to sing backup, and Redding was excited. He flew to Georgia to see his spouse and youngsters and returned on Friday, to examine on Cropper’s progress.

“He popped his head into the management room and stated, ‘I’ll see you on Monday,’” say Cropper.

Quickly after, Redding and the Bar-Kays, a gaggle of Memphis youngsters simply out of highschool who have been his backup band, flew to Cleveland to carry out on an “American Bandstand”-like present referred to as “Upbeat.”

Mitch Ryder, frontman for the Detroit Wheels, carried out “Knock on Wooden” with Redding, an expertise he tells The Publish he’ll always remember.

“What impressed me was his precise bodily measurement,” says Ryder, seventy two. “He put his arm on my shoulder in the course of the track, and was holding me shut. He’s rocking forwards and backwards, and each time he rocks, my foot comes up.”

After the present, Ryder drove residence to Detroit, “beaming the entire three-hour journey.”

Redding performed three exhibits that Saturday night time at Leo’s On line casino in Cleveland. On Sunday, he and 5 members of the Bar-Kays took off for the brief flight to Madison, Wis., to play a gig. They by no means made it. In chilly, foggy and icy circumstances, the aircraft plummeted into Lake Monona, three miles from shore. Trumpet participant Ben Cauley was the one survivor.

Cropper was on the airport in Indianapolis with Booker T & the MGs, who have been making an attempt to get again to Memphis after a present. Singer David Porter referred to as his spouse to let her know they’d missed their connection.

As Cropper recollects it, Porter got here again to them wanting grim. “‘My spouse simply stated Otis went down in a aircraft this morning and is lifeless,’” Cropper recollects him saying. “Everyone…

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