Otis Redding – Dock of the Bay (Stax 230 001) (1968)


(Memphis, TN) – What some people won’t do for a hit record! But soul singer Otis Redding has them all beat. At a hastily arranged press conference outside Stax-Volt recording studios, Redding announced yesterday that he was scheduled to be killed in a plane crash in three days time to boost flagging record sales.

While the songwriter and vocalist placed his last four albums in the US R&B charts’ Top 10, they have consistently failed to go even Top 40 in the US Pop charts. This has prompted Stax executives’ somewhat desperate plan.

“We felt,” said a smiling Redding, “that I haven’t had Pop Chart success commensurate with my talent and influence and, further, extreme measures were required.”

Redding told gathered reporters that his upcoming #1 single, “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” had to be rush-recorded before the fiery air accident. “They didn’t give me much time,” the Georgia-born singer joked. “I even had to whistle the last verse because I hadn’t finished the lyrics!”

The song will be the title track for Redding’s first posthumous release, a hodge-podge compilation of non-Lp singles, b-sides and a couple already-released songs. It was assembled by guitarist Steve Cropper and features liner notes by Rolling Stone/Crawdaddy! writer and future Bruce Springsteen manager, Jon Landau.

Unlike many such cash-ins, Dock of the Bay will be an excellent album and will reach number four in the US Album charts.

Said Stax boss Jim Stewart simply: “Death sells, especially when the product’s this good.”

The last of Sunday’s Ashford haul.

Published in: on July 17, 2012 at 7:51 am  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. brilliant satire asbo – perhaps your finest moment yet…? i laughed out loud at the reason given why otis whistles at the end of “dock of the bay”!

    as they say, death – a great career move… i thought that kind of thing had peaked out after the ridiculous rush for records by the “king” and lennon just because they’d croaked, and nowadays people knew better. But with the passing of wacko a couple of years ago, sadly it very much came back into vogue.

    if it hasn’t been done already, i’m sure one day a pop star will fake their own death to boost their flagging popularity…

  2. I wish I could take total credit, but, if memory serves (I didn’t look it up), the reason for the whistling is at least partially true, at least according to Steve Cropper who was there: He reckons the recording is incomplete and that vocal was only a scratch take.

  3. Pretty great scratch take. Sadly I heard on the radio in the weeks after Whitney Houston died that her records had started to sell huge amounts (possibly as downloads?) – so no, no lessons learnt there. Surely all you’d need to do is go to a thrift shop and pick up one of her records for cheap…

    • Or not. 🙂

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