(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay – Otis Redding | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#1 for 4 weeks); 1968

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

Otis Redding started in the music biz as a valet and part-time singer for a Georgia group called Johnny Jenkins and The Pinetoppers. In 1962, they auditioned for Stax in Memphis, chauffeured there by Otis.

Although Otis wasn’t scheduled to sing, he laid down two tracks at the end of the session. One of them – These Arms Of Mine – made it to vinyl and reached #20 R&B in 1963. Over the next few years, Otis reached the R&B Top 20 16 more times.

His pop star began to shine after he wrote (and recorded) Respect – later a massive hit for Aretha Franklin – and turned in an incendiary performance at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967.

That same year, Otis wrote (Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay on a houseboat near Sausalito, California. He recorded it on December 7th.

Three days later, his private plane crashed into Lake Monoma, Wisconsin, killing Otis and four members of the Bar-Kays. Three months later Dock Of The Bay became Otis’ only #1 single.

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:

  • Steve Cropper
  • Otis Redding