On Jan. 8, 1968,Otis Redding's "(Sittin' on) the Dock of the Bay" was released on Stax's Volt label. Co-written by Redding and guitarist Steve Cropper, the single reached No. 1 on Billboard's pop chart in March 1968, where it remained for four weeks. Two Grammys followed, along with the song's induction into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998.
FINAL CHORDS: Otis Redding in 1967, the year he died. .Redding never heard the single. On Dec. 10, 1967—just 18 days after the recording session—the 26-year-old singer died in a plane crash in Wisconsin, killing everyone on board except Ben Cauley, the trumpeter in his band.
Definitely one of my favorite songs from the '60's. I would have guessed Redding to be closer to twice the age of 26 at the time.
For myself, I couldn't count the times in that era when I sat with that song in my head and wandered where life would take me. But no matter how big the dreams, too often I seemed to be just "sitting on the dock of the bay, wasting time."
My dad was a huge Otis Redding fan and his passing was deeply mourned in our house. If anything, I'm an even bigger fan. I still think his Live in Europe album was one of the best ever made. The story didn't mention it, but another important thing about that tune is that it was an intentional stylistic departure from what he had been doing, and he was quoted elsewhere as saying that R&B would be changing directions and he didn't want to be left behind. He never got to make the trip, but he left us with some incredibly intense and moving music.
The open tuning Otis used is the main reason the song is (virtually) all major chords. Otis wold just bar across the neck' and with that Open E tuning, as he moved his finger up/ down the neck, the chord quality stayed the same.
It's really a unique tune. Ive never really never played another song that's quite like it, with that little chromatic movement and string of Maj chords.
I didn't know that about why the vocals are in mono; I always thought it was just a function of the era and technology.