Rock Hall Honors Otis Redding’s 70th Birthday with Exhibit and Film
CLEVELAND (August 30, 2010) – The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum will honor the life and music of Hall of Fame inductee Otis Redding with an exhibit and film screening. Redding would have been 70 on September 9. That day, the Hall of Fame will unveil a spotlight exhibit with more than 20 artifacts in the Ahmet M. Ertegun Main Exhibit Hall. On Wednesday, September 7, the Museum will screen the film Dreams to Remember: The Legacy of Otis Redding.
In honor of Otis Redding’s legacy and to support the Rock Hall’s mission, his widow Zelma Redding will donate a portion of her husband’s papers to the Rock Hall’s new Library and Archives. These will include contracts, correspondence, photographs, receipts, and sheet music. The Library and Archives will be the world’s preeminent research collection of written and audiovisual materials relating to the history of rock and roll. It will open to the public in early 2012.
In addition, Terry Stewart, president and CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, is Co-Chair of Otis Redding’s 70th Birthday Celebration Weekend and will be traveling to Macon, Georgia for the festivities.
Schedule of events in honor of Otis Redding’s 70th Birthday at the Rock Hall:
Wednesday, September 7 at 7 p.m. in the Foster Theater – Screening of Dreams to Remember: The Legacy of Otis Redding. This event is FREE with a reservation. Seating is limited. Please email [email protected] or call (216) 515-8426 to RSVP.
Dreams to Remember: The Legacy of Otis Redding features 16 complete performances filmed throughout America and Europe showcasing why Otis is considered one of the greatest soul singers of all time. Interspersed between the songs are 40 minutes of interviews filmed exclusively for this DVD with Steve Cropper (Booker T. and the MGs), Jim Stewart (founder of Stax Records), Wayne Jackson (Memphis Horns), and Otis Redding’s widow Zelma. The film includes staggering versions of “I Can’t Turn You Loose,” “Respect,” “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long,” “Try a Little Tenderness” (filmed the day before Otis’ tragic death) and more, all in re-mastered sound and video. Produced by Reelin’ in the Years Productions, this 90-minute film is the first full-length program to commemorate the legacy of Otis Redding and paints a stirring portrait of an artist whose music remains as powerful and influential as it was 40 years ago.
Friday, September 9 beginning at 10 a.m. in the Main Exhibit Hall – Spotlight exhibit featuring more than 20 artifacts representing Otis Redding’s career. Highlights include:
Promotional poster announcing the release of Otis Redding’s original version of “Respect,” 1965
Master tape box for the recording of “You Left the Water Running”
Sweater worn on stage
About Otis Redding
Though his career was relatively brief, Otis Redding was a singer of such commanding stature that to this day he embodies the essence of soul music in its purist form. His name is synonymous with the term soul, music that arose out of the black experience in America through the transmutation of gospel and rhythm & blues into a form of funky, secular testifying. His recording sessions were galvanic, impassioned and intense – the very apotheosis of soul. Donald “Duck” Dunn, bassist with the M.G.s, recalls: “Otis would come in, and he’d just bring everybody up. You wanted to play with Otis. He brought out the best in you.”
Redding left behind a legacy of recordings made during the four-year period from his first sessions for Stax/Volt Records in 1963 until his death in 1967. Ironically, although he consistently impacted the R&B charts beginning with the Top Ten appearance of “Mr. Pitiful” in 1965, none of his singles fared better than #21 on the pop Top Forty until the posthumous release of “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay.” That landmark song, recorded just four days before Redding’s death, went to #1 and stayed there for four weeks in early 1968. It marked a new direction for the singer toward a soul-folk-pop synthesis that drew from such influences as Bob Dylan and the new breed of performers at the Monterey International Pop Festival, at which Redding had performed.
There was earthiness and candor in his every performance, be it slow, soulful ballads like “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” or fast-paced numbers such as “I Can’t Turn You Loose.” Such albums as Otis Blue/Otis Redding Sings Soul – which was recorded in a single 24-hour period in 1965 – is a virtual soul-music primer. In concert, Redding routinely incited pandemonium through the thunderous intensity of his performances, which included vocal ad-libs and false endings – devices that were evident in his memorable rendition of “Try a Little Tenderness” at the Monterey International Pop Festival on June 17, 1967. Redding stole the show at Monterey, as a wide-eyed new audience – the youthful counterculture – enthusiastically opened up to him. Given that launching pad and his songwriting breakthrough with “Sittin’ On (The Dock of the Bay),” Redding was poised for superstardom at the time his twin-engine Beechcraft crashed into Wisconsin’s Lake Monona on December 10, 1967, killing him and four members of his touring band, the Bar-Kays.