Friday, March 16, 2018

50 Years Ago Today "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay" Hit no. 1

It was fifty years ago today that "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay" by Otis Redding hit no. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Mr. Redding had started writing the song while on tour with The Bar-Kays in August 1967. He was on a houseboat in at Waldo Point in Sausalito, California. He continued to work on the song while on tour and finally recorded the song between November 22 and December 7 1967.

Sadly, Otis Redding would not live to see the song's success. It was on December 9 1967 that Otis Redding appeared on the local television show Upbeat in Cleveland, Ohio, and had also played three concerts at the club Leo's Casino there. Their next date was in Madison, Wisconsin. Unfortunately that night saw fog and heavy rain. The plane's pilot radioed Truax Field in Madison for permission to land once they were four miles away. It never made it. The plane crashed into Lake Monona near Madison. Only one person survived, Ben Cauley of The Bar-Kays. As Mr. Cauley was unable to swim (he stayed afloat by holding onto a seat cushion), he could not save anyone else aboard the plane. Otis Redding and four of the other Bar-Kays died (bassist James Alexander was on another plane).

"(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay" was released on January 8 1968, around a month after Otis Redding's death. It reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 on March 16 1968. It was the first single to top the charts after its singer's death.

Here is Otis Reding performing the classic "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay"

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