The great soul singer Otis Redding is one of the most beloved musicians of modern times. Seriously, have you even met someone who doesn’t like “(Sitting On) The Dock of the Bay”? Unfortunately, Otis passed away 50 years ago due to the tragic plane crash that took his life December 10, 1967. In honour of THE wedding singer, let’s look at 9 things you didn’t know about Otis Redding.

  1. While Otis had the voice of a sweet angel, he was built like a brick house. Otis stood 6’2″ tall and weighed over 220 lbs. To compare, that would make him about the same size as four-time world heavyweight boxing champion Evander “The Real Deal” Holyfield.
  2. Otis owned a 200+ acre ranch in Georgia called “The Big O Ranch”, complete with horses, pigs and cattle. The Redding family even allowed visitors to the ranch on what would have been his 75th birthday.
  3. As a youngster, Otis would earn $6 for his family by singing gospel tunes every Sunday on Macon, Georgia radio station WIBB.
  4. When he was a teenager, he won a local talent competition (and the $5 cash prize) 15 TIMES IN A ROW! After his 15th consecutive victory the organizers asked him to stop competing so other people would have a chance to win.
  5. His first single, “These Arms of Mine”, found success through the efforts of Nashville radio host “John R” Richbourg, who helped break the song into the R&B market by constantly playing it on WLAC.
  6. How did he come up with the inspiration for “(Sitting On) The Dock of the Bay”? It was probably when he lived in a boathouse across the bay from San Francisco, where he would actually watch the ships roll in just like he sings in the song.
  7. You know the whistling at the end of “(Sitting On) The Dock of the Bay”? It wasn’t supposed to be a part of the final song and Otis only whistled through it because they were still working on the final lyrics. They never had a chance to replace it as he tragically died just a few days later at the far too young age of 26.
  8. Otis was so popular in England that he ended Elvis Presley’s eight-year reign as “world’s best male vocalist” on Melody Maker’s annual poll in 1967. When he arrived in England for his 1967 tour he was greeted by The Beatles’ personal limo.
  9. On March 16, 1968, Redding’s recording of “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay” became the first posthumous #1 hit in the Billboard chart history.


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Filed under: 1967, JACK likes Lists, Otis Redding