Top 5 Things You Might Not Know About Otis Redding

One of the most popular and critically acclaimed soul vocalist, songwriter and musician representatives of the R&B style known as Southern soul, Otis Redding is most regarded as the single most influential male soul artist of the 1960s. He was one of the first artists to expand his appeal to white audiences with a rare, unprompted style that bore a blatant distinction to the smooth, sophisticated music of Motown.

1.  Redding Dropped Out of School to Help His Family

At the age of ten, Redding made $6 performing gospel songs every Sunday for Macon radio station WIBB.  Redding later left school at 15 when his father, a gospel singer, contracted tuberculosis. To help his mother Fannie, who was the primary financial provider,  Otis tried to match her financially as he worked as a well-digger, gas station attendant and as a gospel song performer at a local radio station.


2.  Otis Redding Was Banned From Competing in the Douglas Theater Talent Show

Otis Redding entered a radio talent show on disc jockey Hamp Swain’s “The Teenage Party” at the Historic Douglas Theater.  Redding not only killed it at the Douglass Theatre talent show in Macon, Ga., he won the contest 15 times in a row and was banned from competing again so others would have a chance at winning.  The prize for winning the talent show was five dollars. 


3.  Redding Walked Into Stax Carrying Amplifiers But Would Become the Label’s First Superstar

Redding had been invited to join a band called Johnny Jenkins and the Pinetoppers, but they used him more as a gofer and driver than as a vocalist.  In 1962, Jenkins was was invited to make a demo at Stax Records in Memphis, Tennessee but Jenkins did not have a drivers license therefore Otis had to drive him to Memphis.  Redding sat in the studio all day, insisting he could sing  and he finally got his chance.  After hearing his poignant sound, they contracted Redding to their sister label, Volt.


4.  Redding Became the First Artist Ever to Have a Single Reach No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Chart Posthumously

Only posthumously did Redding achieve a number-one pop hit, with “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay,” a song inspired by the time he had spent in San Francisco not long after the Monterey festival.  Otis finished recording the song on December 8, 1967. On December 10th, the plane in which he and his road band were flying crashed. 'Sitting On The Dock of the Bay' was the first posthumous number one hit in American music history.

5.  Otis Redding Recorded For Coca-Cola

It was in 1963 that Coca-Cola started using the slogan "Things Go Better with Coke."  Popular acts were asked to create musical jingles utilizing the slogan. The jingles became so popular that Coca-Cola eventually distributed 60,000 promotional "Let's Swing the Jingle for Coca-Cola" singles through their bottlers.  Redding recorded the single A Man and a Woman for Coca-Cola and it’s one of the best musical jingles ever released.

Find Out Which Otis Redding Album Truly Defines Soul Music in This Top 5 List