The Rise and (Untimely) Fall of Otis Redding

Otis Redding worked his way up from the bottom. He was a teenager who managed to strike a deal with a then-struggling but now-legendary label, Stax-Volt. He started with ‘These Arms of Mine’ in 1962, gave us a string of hit ballads, and everyone loved hearing his smooth-but-scruffy tone. But by the time he released ‘Try A Little Tenderness’ and ‘Respect,’ people just couldn’t get enough of his “got-ta-got-ta-got-ta” tagline.

Otis Redding is performing on stage at the Monterey Pop Concert in 1967.

Photo by Bruce Fleming / Shutterstock

By the mid- ‘60s, the young and talented singer was touring and selling records, proudly collecting some trophies on the way, like a 300-acre ranch and a private plane. But that plane would end up taking his life. The sad truth about Otis Redding’s short-lived life is that he was taken down just as his career was taking off. He would have made the infamous ’27 Club,’ but he was just shy of a year. Otis Redding died in a plane crash when he was 26 years old, just three days after he recorded his most popular song. Unfortunately, he wasn’t around to enjoy it.

This is his story.