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Otis Redding

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Dawson, Georgia (1962 – 1967)

Otis Redding (Otis Ray Redding Jr., Dawson, Georgia, September 9, 1941 – Madison, Wisconsin, December 10, 1967) was a highly influential singer from Georgia, USA.

Redding was born in the small town of Dawson, Georgia. When he was 5, his family moved to Macon, Georgia. Redding sang in the choir at church, and as a teenager won the talent show at the Douglass Theatre for 15 weeks in a row. His early influences were Little Richard and Sam Cooke. Richard Pennyman (Little Richard) was also a Macon resident. Redding said, “If it hadn’t been for Little Richard, I would not be here. I entered the music business because of Richard; he is my inspiration. I used to sing like Little Richard, his Rock ‘n’ Roll stuff, you know. Richard has soul, too. My present music has a lot of him in it.”

In 1960, Redding began touring the South with Johnny Jenkins and The Pinetoppers. In addition to singing, Redding also served as Jenkins’ driver since the bandleader did not possess a driver’s license. That same year he made his first recordings, “Fat Gal” and “Shout Bamalama” with this group under the name “Otis Redding and The Pinetoppers” Issued on the Orbit and Confederate record labels before being picked up by King.

In 1962, Redding made his first real mark in the music business during a Johnny Jenkins session when, during studio time left over, he recorded “These Arms of Mine”, a ballad that he had written. The song became a minor hit. on Volt Records, a subsidiary of the renowned Southern soul label Stax, based in Memphis, Tennessee.

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