I’ve Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now) – Otis Redding | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#21) and R&B (#2); 1965

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

When Otis Redding walked into a Stax studio session in Memphis for the first time, he was a shy 21- year-old with some forgettable singles to his credit. Atlantic Records promo man Joe Galkin considered the Georgia native’s 1962 recording of Shout Bamalama the worst he’d ever heard.

Still, a recent instrumental disc by The Pinetoppers, for whom Otis sang, persuaded Stax owner Jim Stewart to wax a follow-up. When things didn’t go well for the Pinetoppers’ material, Otis took his shot. His first attempt was a blatant Little Richard knockoff: something all agreed the world didn’t need.

So Otis sang a ballad he’d written called These Arms Of Mine. Legendary Nashville deejay John R.’s constant on-air spins helped boost These Arms to #20 R&B in early 1963.

It took another two years for Otis’ unique horns-and vocal sound to appear on the R&B Top 10 track, Mr. Pitiful. Otis’ breakthrough single came in the summer of 1965 when a song he’d written in a Buffalo hotel room with Jerry ButlerI’ve Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now) – became his biggest R&B hit to date.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2024 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:

  • Otis Redding
  • Jerry Butler


  • Inducted into the United States National Recording Registry in 2003
  • Inducted to Grammy Hall of Fame
  • Ranked #111 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time
  • Ranked #78 on the 2021 edition of Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time
  • Included in the book “1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die”
  • Inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2008
  • Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999
  • Inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1994
  • Received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award posthumously