In 1965 Otis Redding released two singles which turned out to be landmarks in his career. The first, "I've Been Loving You Too Long", he co-wrote with fellow soul singer Jerry Butler. A slow, aching ballad, it was massively successful when released in April, giving him both a #2 R&B hit, and his first pop cross-over hit at #21 on the Billboard Hot 100. Another original song, "Respect", came out four months later and was another big hit - #4 R&B and #35 pop. Redding's career had taken a leap forward over the summer.
That summer he also quickly recorded his third album with a small group of Stax stalwarts - guitarist Steve Cropper, bassist Donald Dunn, drummer Al Jackson Jr., keyboard player Isaac Hayes, and The Memphis Horns. Released in September, Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul featured the two hit singles with a host of covers - three Sam Cooke songs, Solomon Burke's "Down In The Valley", Smokey Robinson's "My Girl", BB King's "Rock Me" and William Bell's "You Don't Miss Your Water". It also had a surprise with a cover of The Rolling Stone's "Satisfaction", which they had only released themselves a few months earlier, returning the favour they had paid countless American R&B artists by introducing their songs to the British pop audience.
The album was a hit - it garnered instant critical acclaim, topped the R&B album chart, and even got to #6 on the UK chart. It also generated two more hit singles - "My Girl" got to #11 in the UK, and "Satisfaction" became a #4 R&B hit. The result was Otis Redding's long-awaited breakthrough, and his fame and recognition expanded greatly. The album is today generally regarded as his best, and in many ways epitomises both his sound and the sound of Stax Records.
The Great Otis Redding Sings Soul Ballads (1965) <|> The Soul Album (1966)
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