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59 | The Top 100
(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay
Otis Redding
Listening to Otis Redding sing “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay” can’t help but leave you with a sense of what might have been. Recorded just three days before his death in a plane crash in Dec 1968, “Dock Of The Bay” was a giant leap forward for a man who was already a star in the soul
Otis Redding
Song facts
Composer Steve Cropper/Otis Redding
Genre Soul
Album The Dock Of The Bay
Year of Release 1968
UK Chart Position 3
world but was primed for a crossover to the mainstream. Redding’s state of mind at the time of the recording is evident in the calm, languid feel of the song. He’d been a huge success as the only soul act to play the Monterey Pop festival and he and his guitarist Steve Cropper rewarded themselves with a holiday on a houseboat outside San Francisco. Redding was a huge fan of The Beatles' Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, and hoped that “Dock Of The Bay” would be seen as fitting in with the mood of that album. It certainly displays a maturity in his songwriting that would no doubt have led to further mainstream success had he lived. But he didn’t, and Cropper was left to tidy up the recording, adding the seaside noises but leaving in the whistling, which Redding had hoped to replace with a further verse at some time.

Otis Redding talks about his church background and other artists he admires
Bob Dylan
Otis Redding on church, poverty and Little Richard: "you've gotta be poor to sing the blues . . ."


Other versions
Tom Jones
 Tom Jones leant his vocal talents to Otis Redding's all-time classic soul track.

For me there aren't many songs that make you stop, take a breath, and begin to see the world from the singer's point of view


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Songwriting tips

For expert advice on writing decent lyrics, great hooks or a melody to get the A&R scout humming. Find out more in Writing A Song
Test your knowledge

Which hit did Redding pen for Aretha Franklin? Answer this poser and more in our quiz - or if you can't stand the heat just sit on the dock of the bay . . .


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