Otis Ray Redding, Jr. was an American singer and songwriter who immensely influenced the genre of soul, despite a short lived career due to his untimely death. He was born on September 9, 1941 in Dawson, Georgia to Otis Redding, Sr. and Fannie Redding. The family moved to Macon when Redding was 5 years old. Here he began to sing in the church choir at an early age and also learnt to play the piano, guitar and drums. He took lessons for singing and sang in his school band as well as on local radio. He cited the singers Little Richard and Sam Cooke as his main inspirations and stated that there were definitive elements of their music in his work.
His father fell severely ill when Redding was 15, so he left school and began to support his mother in providing for the family. He held a number of menial jobs while also working as a guest musician with other artists such as pianist Gladdy Williams who often performed at social clubs. In the late 1950s, Redding met a local guitarist named Johnny Jenkins who invited him to join his group, the Pinetoppers. In 1960, he briefly moved to Los Angeles to try his luck but returned to Macon in 1961. In October 1962, he accompanied Jenkins to a recording session and grabbed the opportunity of recording his own song called “These Arms of Mine”. This song put Redding on to the map, becoming his first hit and reaching No. 20 on the R&B charts.
Redding was a successful performer throughout the 1960s, and released a number of hits such as “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long”, “Mr. Pitiful”, “I Can’t Turn You Loose” and “Respect” in 1965, “My Lover’s Prayer” and “Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa” in 1966 and “(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay” in 1968. His soulful voice and emotionally powerful performances mesmerized crowds during tours and concerts. He had a huge following with black audiences but his 1967 performance at the Monterey Pop Festival introduced his music to white audiences as well, with whom he was equally successful.
Other than his own performances, Redding performed with other artists as