Otis Redding, the soulful singer and songwriter famous for Respect, Try a Little Tenderness and (Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay, was born Sept. 9, 1941, in Dawson, Ga. Redding died in 1967; today would have been his 75th birthday.
Redding sang in his church choir as a youngster and learned to play guitar and piano. He began performing with different music groups, including the former backing band for rhythm and blues rocker Little Richard.
In 1962, Redding recorded These Arms of Mine during an impromptu studio session, and was signed to a three-year contract with Stax Records in Memphis. These Arms of Mine became the first in a string of hit records for Redding.
He began touring across the United States and Europe, and his popularity grew following the release of his first album in 1964, and his second, with the hit Mr. Pitiful, the following year.
In June 1967, Redding performed a successful set at the Monterey Pop Festival. In December of that year he recorded (Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay, written with guitarist Steve Cropper.
Three days after the recording was completed, Redding died when a small plane carrying him as a passenger crashed near Madison, Wis., on Dec. 10. He was just 26 years old.
(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay became Redding’s biggest hit, winning two Grammy awards for best rhythm and blues song and best male rhythm and blues vocal performance.
In 1993, Redding was commemorated on two 29¢ stamps — pane and booklet versions of the same design — in the American Music series (Scott 2728 and 2735, respectively).