Unforgettable Live Performances: ‘Try a Little Tenderness’ by Otis Redding

In this installment of our series on memorable or special live performances we take a look at the final performance of a man many call the greatest soul singer of all time.

There are certain singers who have something that many others would love: an instantly recognizable voice. Otis Redding is one of those. His voice transcends countries, generations and will always be one of the best male voices ever.

Otis Redding was seen as one of the greatest and most passionate live performers in soul music
Otis Redding


It is still hard to wrap my head around the fact that he was only 26 years old when he died in a plane crash on the way to Madison, Wisconsin on December 10th 1967. He was traveling with the band, The Bar Kays, with band member Ben Cauley being the only survivor. The reason I chose to write my second Unforgettable Live performances about him was because just last year I learned that his last performance was recorded. This is his last performance.

It is so bizarre and sad to learn that Otis and four of the Bar Kays died just the following day. Not even 24 hours. I don´t think there is any fan of Soul music who does not feel sad about this tragedy. It was only 3 days before that Otis recorded the classic ‘Sitting on the Dock of the Bay’. It would be the first posthumous number-one record on the Billboard 100.

Otis was born on September 9th 1941 in Dawson, Georgia, the son of gospel singer and preacher Otis Redding Sr. and Fannie Redding, who worked as a housekeeper. he sang in the church choir from an early age and by the time he was 10 years old was taking singing lessons. He is considered one of the greatest soul vocalists in history and was also a significant record producer and arrange and was one of the artists that really helped consolidate the Stax sound. (Oh, there will definitely be posts on Mowtown and Stax so let´s leave this at that for the moment).

I met Otis via 80´s movies. 1. Dirty Dancing (I´ve already done a post on that which you can find here). And then there was Duckie.



This is not a soundtrack post but for those of you out the that have not seen Pretty In Pink it is simply a MUST. Anyway, there is an unforgettable scene in that movie, you could say this is an Inception post because it is clearly an Unforgettable Performance also

Jon Cryer’s Otis Redding impression from the film Pretty In Pink

And that was enough for me to listen to any record that had Otis in it. There wasn´t a lot around in my hometown, but there were a few Otis fans, and I remember my excitement every time I heard a new song by him. Still now I could not choose a favorite one, the man was just soul music, the King. And his last performance only helped elevate his legend. You can find some cool pictures here: http://www.otisredding.com/

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