Cover image for Otis! : the Otis Redding story
Otis! : the Otis Redding story
Freeman, Scott, 1958-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, 2001.
Physical Description:
261 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ML420.R32 F74 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
ML420.R32 F74 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Rolling Stone 's Jon Landau described Otis Redding's music as "the highest level of expression rock 'n' roll has yet attained." And now from the critically acclaimed author of Midnight Riders: The Story of the Allman Brothers Band comes an intimate look at soul brother number one and the undisputed king of soul, Otis Redding.

Music was his sole occupation. Inspired by the works of Little Richard, a singer raised in a small town just miles from his own, Otis Redding knew he wanted to become a singer. This dream, his father said, would lead him nowhere, but when Otis Redding first burst onto the scene in 1962 with his R&B hit "These Arms of Mine" music enthusiasts knew they were listening to the voice of a star. With over fourteen songs gracing the top 20 chart, Otis Redding soon became a music phenomenon. Crooning tunes such as "Respect," "I Can't Stop Loving You," and "Try a Little Tenderness," Otis Redding defined a new generation of R&B music.

He solidified his position as a superstar by stealing the spotlight at concerts like the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. But at the height of his career, three days after completing his most popular song "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay," Otis Redding died in a tragic plane crash over Madison, Wisconsin.

Now, Otis!: The Otis Redding Story tells the true life story of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame legend who changed the face of R&B music. This revealing portrait is hailed as the most definitive text on the man who embodied the very essence of soul.

Author Notes

Scott Freeman is the author of Midnight Riders: The Story of the Allman Brothers Band . He has received more than two dozen awards for his journalism, including two nominations for the Pulitzer Prize. He is a senior editor at Atlanta Magazine .

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Otis Redding is one of the many rock icons as famous for his death as for his records. Touted by the Rolling Stones as the only one to cover one of their songs well--"Satisfaction" --he was just starting to realize his mass-market potential after conquering soul music. The same rock concert movie, Monterey Pop Festival, that broke Jimi Hendrix and the Who in the U.S. brought him wider attention, and his subsequent single, "(Sittin' on) The Dock of the Bay," became a huge mainstream hit, unfortunately posthumously. He died in a 1967 airplane crash into Wisconsin's Lake Monona--"just outside Madison," Freeman says, though it's in the middle of the city--which became mysterious when claims arose that a record company exec had the plane sabotaged to collect on life insurance on Redding. An important resource on a black performer who had begun to appeal to white audiences before that was common, and also on the famous soul music record company Stax, this is a fine and vital pop-music book. --Mike Tribby

Publisher's Weekly Review

Before his death in 1967 at the age of 26, the legendary soul singer Otis Redding was the premier act of the Stax-Volt record company, whose recordings by Booker T. & the MG's and Sam & Dave, among others, offered a Southern-based brew of R&B, funk and blues that was Motown Records' main competitor in the mid- to late-1960s. Freeman, whose excellent Midnight Riders explored the Allman Brothers' revolutionary Southern rock, has produced another well-written, expertly researched and culturally sensitive chapter in the history of Southern popular music, as well as the first truly in-depth view of the man whose powerful stage presence and commanding vocals made him the first soul artist to cross over to a predominantly white, rock-oriented audience. Redding's music is given its proper context in the black community of Macon, Ga. which also produced Little Richard and James Brown and in the managing career of Phil Walden, a young white soul fan who managed and directed Redding's career and began a Macon-based musical empire that, unlike most Southern labels, achieved success based on a true unity of black and white musicians . But Freeman is no hagiographer: he makes it clear that both Redding and Walden were tough characters with their eyes on the money, too. This nuanced account of Redding's celebrated career, which ended only three days after he recorded the song "The Dock of the Bay," proves that he deserves his place in the pantheon of great American singers. Eight pages of photos not seen by PW. (Dec.) Forecast: With a national radio campaign and supported by the enduring popularity of Redding's music, this should be a success with audiences interested in classic American roots music. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

"He knew this was the record that was going to open a door long nailed shut; he just never got to step inside." That is how Freeman describes "(Sittin' on) the Dock of the Bay," Redding's first No. 1 hit on both the R&B and pop charts in 1968. The song was another confirmation of Redding's skill as well as his break into the white artist-dominated mainstream. Sadly, he died in a plane crash days after recording it in 1967. As editor of Atlanta magazine and author of the critically acclaimed Midnight Riders: The Story of the Allman Brothers Band (Scott Freeman, 1995) Freeman, as only a Georgia native can, forthrightly portrays his subject's life from his meager, sometimes criminal, beginnings as a Little Richard wannabe in Macon, GA, to his rise to King of Soul with his fiery sessions for Stax Records and legendary performance at the Monterey International Pop Festival. With industrious research and countless interviews with Georgia musicians and locals, Otis! not only chronicles Redding's story but also explains how Motown rival Stax crafted its country-soul sound with a roster that included Booker T. and the MG's and James Brown. Jane Schiesel's The Otis Redding Story (1973) has long been out of print, so this update is welcome. For all public libraries. Eric Hahn, Fargo, ND (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.