What if Otis Redding Had Lived?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by fr in sc, Jul 4, 2016.

  1. fr in sc

    fr in sc Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Hanahan, SC
    Been listening to and watching as much as I can of Otis Redding lately; can't help but wonder what might've happened had he lived....

    ...would his musical style have changed greatly? Most of his colleagues at Stax/Volt hated Dock of the Bay....
    ...would Atlantic Records have sold out so soon after his death to Warner/Seven Arts, taking the Stax/Volt catalog with them? What might this have done to the record industry? Would there have been a WEA?
    ...would Stax/Volt have overtaken Motown in 1968? Rolling Stone thought so....
    ...would he have recorded "Mr. Soul," or was that just a yarn of Neil Young's? It was the perfect song title for Otis, without a doubt!
    ...what would have changed in the careers of Sam & Dave, Isaac Hayes and Arthur Conley, let alone the Bar-Kays, who were the up-and-coming house band at Stax/Volt?

    ...such a tragic ending for such a wonderfully talented man, and it's compounded by the loss of four of the Bar-Kays. It's almost heartbreaking to see the YouTube clips of them on TV in Cleveland on 12/9/67, and to realize at all of 26 years old Otis is the oldest, and for five of them it's their last full day on earth.
  2. Daryl M

    Daryl M Forum Resident

    London, Ontario
    ......would his manager Phil Walden have moved onto a young session guitarist named
    Duane Allman?
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  3. fr in sc

    fr in sc Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Hanahan, SC
    True that! I'd forgotten about where that whole thread could've spun off to......Otis Redding>Phil Walden>Allman Brothers....oh jeez, I just remembered Gregg's marriage to Cher....better get back to the barbecue....
    BeatlesBop likes this.
  4. Ignatius

    Ignatius Forum Resident

    A "King And Queen" reboot with Otis & Cher :nauga:
    fr in sc likes this.
  5. theMess

    theMess Forum Resident

    Kent, UK
    This is a very interesting question. His interest in the 'Sgt. Pepper' album, including the instrumentation and producation, certainly could have signified a stylistic shift, and had Otis not died, he may well have written a 'masterpiece' album in 1967 or 1968, preceding Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder's 70's masterpieces. Looking at what he had written in the year of his death, I definitely think that he was about to hit a peak with his songwriting.
  6. OneStepBeyond

    OneStepBeyond Temporarily mothballed..

    Leicester, UK.
    I didn't know he was a fan of Pepper... quotes/link anyone? :) I'm imagining him doing his take on With A Little Help From My Friends and trying not to hear Joe Cocker's arrangement! But Otis was great at re-interpreting and not just doing carbon copies of other people's songs - look at the Otis Blue album for proof. He knew what he wanted and could have become renowned as a top arranger & producer.

    Getting away from OR's cover versions and thinking about the great songs he did write, there certainly was no sign he was about to dry up creatively and going by what came out on 1968 The Immortal album, there surely had to be more to come. Maybe he'd have gone into something quite funky, as others were doing... who knows? I don't usually like speculating in this way but he is another that died so young, sometimes it's hard not to.
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  7. theMess

    theMess Forum Resident

    Kent, UK
    Here is the BBC mentioning the influence of the Pepper album on '(Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay':

    ''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 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. [​IMG]''
  8. OneStepBeyond

    OneStepBeyond Temporarily mothballed..

    Leicester, UK.
    Thank, Ben. It's a shame they got the year he died wrong but not to worry. :)
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  9. Christopher B

    Christopher B Forum Resident

    New Castle, DE
    Ive only really heard "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay" and "Love Man" steadily over the years. What other songs or albums are recommended starting points to listen ?
  10. the sands

    the sands Forum Resident

    Oslo, Norway
    I love the energy of "I Can't Turn You Loose" and "Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song)". "I've Been Loving You Too Long" is a favorite of slower ones. Never been too crazy about "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay" for some reason. It's likeable but the raw emotional Redding gets more under my skin.
    Bob J, McLover and Christopher B like this.
  11. Jim B.

    Jim B. Forum Resident

    Both Otis, and his idol Sam Cooke, were on the cusp of moving onto new and very exciting careers before their lives ended. I can't really answer the technical record company questions you pose, but Sam had just recorded A Change Is Gonna Come and Otis Dock Of The Bag (and things like Dreams to Remember).

    Both had great skills as both songwriters and singers and I think both would have made some amazing records in the years to come, it's not like their careers were washed up or they only knew how to do one thing, and from a slightly cynical view they both knew where the 'market' was going and there were big bucks to be made from white America, although I think those distinctions were made irrelevant later on. Both would be right up there with Marvin, Stevie, James, Curtis and Sly in the late 60's/early 70's.
    fr in sc, duggan, theMess and 3 others like this.
  12. Jim B.

    Jim B. Forum Resident

    His Classic album is Otis Blue, it's the perfect summation of his career to that point and one of the great albums, soul or not, of the 60's. Essential.

    Then I would get Pain In My Heart, which is a great early album, and then from there it's really everything else, there aren't any bad records in the catalogue.
    Davido, theMess, Mr. Grieves and 2 others like this.
  13. OneStepBeyond

    OneStepBeyond Temporarily mothballed..

    Leicester, UK.
    Album: Otis Blue (usually rated his best and a classic soul album.) I'd always mention that first but there aren't any that I'd not recommend and you can't go wrong with a compilation, for the 'hits' of course. You have to hear him live too and there are a few out there... You Tube has some nice video clips. :)
    theMess, Jim B. and Christopher B like this.
  14. Jim B.

    Jim B. Forum Resident

    Two essential performances (sadly I think the former is currently unavailable to buy, think Dave Clark has the rights) :

    Ready Steady Go TV Special (I love this so much, not the MG's but his touring band but sounds great)
    Monterey Pop (with the MG's and the Memphis Horns, Otis winning over the hippie crowd)
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  15. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    Redding, I think, was working on the best material of his career at the time of his death. Since it's release the posthumous Immortal Otis Redding has been my favorite Redding album. And I think the kind of lyrical, laid back, almost country soul of "Dock of the Bay" or a Immortal track like "Champagne and Wine" should that Redding was on his way to cementing himself as a kind of crossover soul star for the early '70s, back-to-the-earth kind of moment....kind of like almost a Van Morrisonsy figure, if Morrison had been black and from Georgia, not white and from Ireland. Certainly he would have build on his crossover moment post Monterey

    But Motown would have still been Motown. And James Brown would have still been James Brown -- the '70s funk explosion with it's very glam kind of element, kind of the antithesis of Redding's country soul, would have come along.
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  16. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    I'd recommend the posthumous The Immortal Otis Redding, easily my favorite Redding album. I always thought the early albums were a bit overrated, not bad, but like lots of mid '60s soul albums, not great albums either. And the Live in Europe album, with I think the definitive recorded performances of "Try a Little Tenderness" and "I've Been Loving You Too Long." Singles? "I've Been Loving You Two Long" and "Mr. Pitiful" and "These Arms of Mine" and "Can't Turn You Loose" and "Tramp" with Carla Thomas and Redding's reinvention of "Try a Little Tenderness" are the cream of the crop as far as I'm concerned.
    theMess likes this.
  17. Dhreview16

    Dhreview16 Forum Resident

    London UK
    Who knows where Otis would have gone. He was certainly becoming heavily influenced by the Beatles (his love of Pepper) and the Stones (his covers), and he was becoming popular with US white audiences after Monterey (and was already a huge hit with white audiences in Europe thanks to the Stax tours). Some US soul artists were more open and upfront about their involvement in the civil rights movement, at a time of continued racial tension and growing protests over Vietnam. Psychedelia was there. Otis was also a successful businessman and a record label owner. He could write too. Let's not forget that within a couple of years the Temptations would go from the likes of their pop cabaret albums with the Supremes to Puzzle People, Psychedelic Shack and Cloud Nine, to Sky's The Limit, and then All Directions and Masterpiece (with Papa was a Rolling Stone and Law of the Land) - pop, protest, psychedelic soul and among the first disco anthems. Marvin and Stevie would make What's Going On and Talking Book, Isaac and Curtis would make Shaft and Superfly. All within 3 or 4 years of Otis's death. My guess is that he was smart enough to move more towards the mainstream, while not forgetting his roots.

    Otis Blue absolutely essential, Live in Europe (London and Paris), Pain In My Heart too, and Dictionary of Soul. The Rhino 5 CD box sets are a great place to start, for a good price, if you want Blue plus a few others.
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  18. dance_hall_keeper

    dance_hall_keeper Forum Resident

    Bill Graham thought the world of him; and vice-versa.
    There was mutual admiration between the two.
    The "ice for his 7-Up" story, from Mr. Graham's autobiography, is amazing.
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2016
  19. Holy Diver

    Holy Diver Forum Resident

    He'd still be the coolest guy around. :)
  20. Tribute

    Tribute Forum Resident

    Otis was great, but if Sam Cooke had lived, Sam would have been the dominant force in the Soul explosion (with Aretha as his sister), parallel to the other dominant force, James Brown. Otis may have never reached his legendary peak, but would have been one of Sam's greatest disciples. With Sam gone, Otis could soar, and indeed the 1970's would have been incredible with him at the top. I'm not sure his vocal chords could have withstood the strain to keep him in good voice in his 60's and 70's. Maybe Otis could have kept soul music alive as disco emerged.
  21. Dennis Metz

    Dennis Metz Born In A Motor City!

    Fonthill, Ontario
    It would be great :cheers:
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  22. Mr. Grieves

    Mr. Grieves Forum Resident

    Love Sam. But the Otis' voice & powerful performances were too strong not to soar whether he was there or not. I think there could've been room for both.
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  23. Tribute

    Tribute Forum Resident

    I don't disagree, but Otis may not have stood out so strongly. When Sam died, Otis decided to dedicate himself to keeping Sam's memory alive. He said so in interviews, and his career started to take off.
    fr in sc and Mr. Grieves like this.
  24. John Fell

    John Fell Forum Survivor

    He would still be sitting on the dock of the bay? :shrug::D
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  25. Tribute

    Tribute Forum Resident

    He most likely would have evolved into creating "concept" or thematic albums, as he was a creative songwriter, and moved away from the 3 minute "high energy" single approach. He would have had to use a softer vocal approach with time, or his vocal chords would have been shot.

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