Otis Redding (1941 – 1967), who was known as the “King of Soul,” had a number of top hits during his singing career, including “Respect” and “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay.”
To commemorate the career of one of the best signers of the 20th century, here are Otis Redding’s top 10 best songs.
“The Happy Song (Dum – Dum)”
Released posthumously on the 1968 album The Immortal Otis Redding, “The Happy Song (Dum – Dum” received commercial success in the United States. After its release, the song made the list of the top US R&B songs, reaching as far on the list as the 10th most popular song. It also was on the US Pop list, plateauing as the 25th song on the chart.
“I’ve Been Loving You Too Long”
The song “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” was released in 1965 as a song on the album Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul. Although he had written successful songs before this song’s release, it was his first breakthrough single. “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” made an appearance on the Billboard Hot 100 list, and plateaued as the 21st most successful song. An interesting fact about this song is the Rolling Stone magazine ranked it as the 110th greatest song of all time.
“I’ve Got Dreams to Remember”
Another song by Otis Redding that was released after his death is “I’ve Got Dreams to Remember.” Like many of his other songs, this song positioned on the US Pop list and the US R&B list, reaching as far as the sixth most popular song on the latter chart.
This song, which was named after Otis Redding heard that one disc jockey thought he had a pitiful voice singing ballads, was one of the most successful songs by the soul singer. After its release, “Mr. Pitiful” was a Billboard R&B hit and also charted on the Billboard Hot 100 list. The song has fun lines, including “Mr. Pitiful/That’s my name now/They call me Mr. Pitiful/That’s how I got my fame.”
One of the best songs by Otis Redding is “Respect.” This song, which was covered by Aretha Franklin, was released by Redding on his 1965 album Otis Blue. The Rolling Stone magazine ranked the song as the fifth best song on their list “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.”
“Satisfaction (I Can’t Get No)”
Although the Rolling Stones wrote and popularized this song, Otis Redding recorded a successful version of the song. Released on the 1966 album Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul, Redding’s version had great success on the US R&B list. In fact, the song ranked as high as the fourth most popular song. It is also important to note that there are a few differences between the Rolling Stones song and Redding’s cover version, including that the version by Otis Redding has a more soul-feeling to it. The Rolling Stones liked the cover version so much that they have performed it in concerts.
“(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay”
It can be argued that the best song by Otis Redding is his hit (“Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay.” This single, which was released on his album The Dock of the Bay, was released posthumously. In fact, only five days after he wrote the song, he was killed in a tragic airplane accident. A number of successful music artists have covered the song, including Glen Campbell and Bob Dylan. The Rolling Stone magazine also ranked the song on their greatest songs list; it was ranked as the 28th greatest song. One last note about the song is that the song reached the US Billboard Hot 100 list in 1968, and went as far as the most popular song on the list.
“That’s How Strong My Love Is”
Although written by Roosevelt Jamison and then subsequently recorded by O.V. Wright, the song “That’s How Strong My Love Is” received a great popularity boost by Otis Redding’s cover version. Redding’s version made an appearance on both the Billboard R&B chart and the US pop chart.
“These Arms of Mine”
One of the best songs by Otis Redding is his single “These Arms of Mine,” which was released on his 1962 album Pain in my Heart. It is considered as one of his best songs because it received commercial success, including on the Billboard Hot 100 list. The song also helped give momentum to his career; in fact, he was only 21-years-old when the song became a hit single.
“Try a Little Tenderness”
The Rolling Stone magazine also listed the song “Try a Little Tenderness” as one of the greatest songs of all time. Otis Redding, who covered a version of the song in 1966, helped popularize the song with his strong soulful singing.
Like Buddy Holly, who also passed away in a tragic aviation accident, Otis Redding passed away before he was 30-years-old. Although he could have recorded many more great songs, he did have a sensational singing career (even though it only lasted nine years).
“The 100 Greatest Artists of All Time,” Rolling Stone.
“Otis Redding,” Yahoo! Music.
Richie Unterberger, “Otis Redding: Music Biography,” All Music.