Tragedy struck the music world in December 1967 when Otis Redding died in a plane crash whilst travelling to a gig in Madison, Wisconsin. Also killed in the accident were the pilot Richard Fraser, roadie Matthew Kelly, and members of Redding's backing group The Mar-Kays, Jimmy King, Phalon Jones, Ronnie Caldwell and Carl Cunningham. Only trumpeter Ben Cauly survived. Redding was 26 years old at the time. His funeral was held on December 18th in Macon, Georgia, and was attended by over 4,500 people.
What made his death even more tragic was the fact that his music was still developing, and even greater successes were still on the horizon. Shortly before his death he had written and recorded a song with Steve Cropper which he was very excited about. "(Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay" was finished and released less than a month after his death, and it went straight to #1 on both the R&B and pop charts, becoming the first ever posthumous #1 in US chart history. It was also a huge hit in the UK, reaching #3. It was his most successful single and his greatest cross-over success, introducing his music to a much wider audience just a little too late.
There was still a great deal of Otis Redding music which had not been released, and his first posthumous album saw release in February 1968, with "The Dock Of The Bay" as the title track. Three songs were repeated from earlier albums ("Nobody Knows You (When You're Down And Out)", "Ole Man Trouble", and "Tramp", his 1967 duet with Carla Thomas), but the rest of the album was made up of new unheard material. It became his best-selling album, getting to #1 in the UK and #4 in the US. Three more posthumous albums would be released over the next two years, and his fame quickly grew even after his death.
Live In Europe (1967) <|> The Immortal Otis Redding (1968)
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