Song of the Day: Otis Redding, “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of The Bay”

Mentioned this yesterday, that this was one of the two songs that kept “Young Girl” out of the top spot on the Hot 100. Otis wrote this song with guitarist Steve Cropper in 1967, and it seemed no one liked it: his wife Zelma didn’t like the melody, Jim Stewart (one of the co-founders of Stax Records) didn’t think it was R&B, and bassist Donald “Duck” Dunn thought it might damage Stax’s reputation. However, Otis wanted to expand his style, and they recorded the song with backing by Booker T. & The MG’s, Isaac Hayes, and The Memphis Horns (Wayne Jackson and Andrew Love) in November, completing the overdubs in early December, right before his untimely death in a plane crash. Stax released it on its Volt label in 1968, and it became the first posthumous release to reach #1 on the Hot 100. It also reached #1 on the R&B chart.

10 thoughts on “Song of the Day: Otis Redding, “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of The Bay”

  1. It is such a shame he dies so young as did so many others in plane crashes. I love this song and had no idea it almost was not released. It reminds me of Over The Rainbow that was almost cut from the film because the studio execs thought it slowed down the film. The director and and musicians fought to keep it in

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    1. I was thinking about all the air disasters for the music world while I was writing that. Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, The Big Bopper, Patsy Cline, members of the band Chase, members of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Jim Croce, Rick Nelson, and Stevie Ray Vaughan came immediately to mind, and I’m sure there are many more… (you might even say Glenn Miller)

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  2. I remember hearing no one in Otis’s circle liked Dock of the Bay. Personally I think it is not only his best song but it’s a true classic. Simple, meaningful and melodic.💜

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    1. No one but Otis and Steve Cropper, who wrote and produced the song and played guitar on it. They almost didn’t release it. That would have been a disgrace…

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