Friday, September 9
Otis Redding: born September 9,1941 died December 10,1967
Like everyone alive at the time I remember where I was when I heard JFK had been assassinated (in the hallway outside my fourth grade classroom, voluntarily working on a bulletin board after school because the student teacher was hot), and the murder of John Lennon (got it from Howard Cosell, like millions of others). I also remember exactly where I was when I heard Otis' plane had gone down in Madison, Wisconsin: a classmate's basement where we went after school to spin 45s and listen to the radio. They'd just played the Castaways' "Liar Liar".
Otis was, to my thirteen-year old suburban brain, the essence of soul, even if I was a bigger fan of Jackie Wilson. I remember walking around in a funk the next year when "Dock of the Bay" became a huge smash. It just didn't have that grit.
There's a great Stax/Volt documentary out there. I think I have a videotape copy somewhere, but it's not on the database. They ask Steve Cropper about the first time he heard Otis, who, if I recall, just walked into the Stax building one day. Cropper's eyes light up like Christmas Eve.