Hard To Handle – Otis Redding | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#51) & R&B (#38); 1968

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

Demand for Otis Redding records did not end with his death on December 10, 1967. In fact, what would become his biggest hit – (Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay – was mixed, mastered, and released afterwards. On March 16th, 1968, it reached #1 on the R&B and pop charts. A double-sided hit, Amen b/w Hard To Handle, shared airplay in late summer. The latter then spent 22 years in the shadow of other Otis recordings before getting a new lease on life. Covered by the Black Crowes – from Redding’s home state of Georgia – the new rendition reached #45 on the Hot 100 at the end of 1990. However, Mainstream Rock radio fans knew a great song when they heard one, boosting it to #1 and giving it a five month ride on that chart.

All the action on Hard To Handle prompted a single re-release, which became one of the most-played summer songs of 1991 at Top 40.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2023 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • Steve Cropper

Lyrics Written by:

  • Allen Jones
  • Al Bell
  • Otis Redding