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Otis Ray Redding, Jr. (September 9, 1941 – December 10, 1967) was an American soul singer. He is renowned for an ability to convey strong emotion through his voice. According to the website of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (where he was inducted in 1989), Redding's name is "synonymous with the term soul, music that arose out of the black experience in America through the transmutation of gospel and rhythm and blues into a form of funky, secular testifying."
In 1962, Redding made his first real mark in the music business during a Johnny Jenkins session when, during studio time left over, he recorded "These Arms of Mine", a ballad that he had written. The song became a minor hit on Volt Records, a subsidiary of the renowned Southern soul label Stax, based in Memphis, Tennessee. His manager was a fellow Maconite, Phil Walden (who later founded Capricorn Records). Redding was also managed for a brief period by Walden's younger brother Alan Walden while Phil was overseas due to a military draft. Otis Redding continued to release for Stax/Volt, and built his fan base by extensively touring a live show with support from fellow Stax artists Sam & Dave. Further hits between 1964 and 1966 included "Mr. Pitiful", "I Can't Turn You Loose" (which was to become The Blues Brothers entrance theme music), "Try a Little Tenderness" (a remake of the 1930s standard by Harry Woods, Jimmy Campbell, and Reg Connelly, later featured in John Hughes' film Pretty in Pink), "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" (written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones), and "Respect" (later a smash hit for Aretha Franklin).
Redding wrote many of his own songs, which was unusual for the time, often with Steve Cropper (of the Stax house band Booker T. & the M.G.'s, who usually served as Otis's backing band in the studio). Soul singer Jerry Butler co-wrote another hit, "I've Been Loving You Too Long". One of Redding's few songs with a significant mainstream following was "Tramp," (1967) a duet with Carla Thomas).
In 1967, Redding performed at the large and influential Monterey Pop
Festival. His extraordinary musical gifts were then exposed to a wider
audience and may have contributed to his subsequent success as a popular
music recording artist.
Redding's body was recovered the next day when the lake bed was searched. He was entombed on his private ranch in Round Oak, Georgia, 23 miles (37 km) north of Macon. The cause of the crash was never precisely determined although it most likely that he drowned.