Thursday, June 14, 2007
LEGACY OF SOUL SINGER OTIS REDDING TO BE COMMEMORATED IN 2007
December 10, 2007 will mark the 40th Anniversary of the death of legendary soul singer, Otis Redding. Ranked # 21 on Rolling Stone's "100 Greatest Artist of All Time" list, Redding emerged onto the music scene in the early 1960's, quickly establishing himself as a superstar artist and savvy businessman. In just a few years, he amassed a string of timeless hits, such as "I've Been Loving You Too Long," "Satisfaction," "Try a Little Tenderness," and "Respect," that would crossover into the mainstream, establish him as an international celebrity and strongly influence artists of all genres for generations to come. "Respect," which Redding penned in 1965, was a Top 10 hit for him and later became a # 1 smash for Aretha Franklin in 1967. It remains one of the most well-loved and recognizable songs of all time.
Tragically and way before his time, Otis Redding was killed in a plane crash in December, 1967 at the youthful age of 26, leaving his wife, Zelma and three children to mourn his death. Although he was very young at the time of his passing, Redding had already made an enormous impact on the music industry. He had released numerous hit albums and smash singles before his death and "Sittin on the Dock of the Bay," released posthumously, became his 17th straight hit, first million-seller and one of
his most popular songs.
On May 11th of this year, Otis Redding was inducted into the famed Hollywood's Rock Walk, along with The Mamas & The Papas and Al Kooper. This prestigious honor serves as the perfect commencement to a number of events the Redding family is presenting in 2007 to celebrate what would have been his 66th birthday on September 9th, to commemorate the anniversary of his passing and to recognize the outstanding legacy of his career.
First in the series of festivities will be a week-long tribute in Redding's hometown, Macon GA, celebrating the anniversary of Redding's September birthday. These events include a concert, An Evening of R-E-S-P-E- C-T, on September 14th. The concert will showcase Redding's sons Dexter and Otis III, The Macon Symphony Orchestra and other celebrity artists and will benefit THE BIG "O" YOUTH EDUCATIONAL DREAM FOUNDATION.
The foundation, which was established by Redding's widow, Zelma Redding, was created to empower youth to remain confident, motivated and interested in education through music and arts programs. It was always a personal mission of Redding's to encourage young people to stay in school. Before his passing, he had developed programs to be held at his ranch where he invited people from all areas of the music industry to lecture to children on the importance of education and learning. Of her husband's efforts, Zelma Redding says, "Otis would tell me," 'If it takes music to get the
attention of these young people, then let's educate them through music.'
Coinciding with the musical tribute will be the unveiling of Otis Redding: I've Got Dreams to Remember, a special exhibition at the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in Macon. The exhibit features behind-the-scenes photographs taken by a wide range of noted professionals in the U.S. and in France. In addition, more than 175 artifacts vividly tell the story of Redding's rise to stardom, including rare, hand-written song lyrics,posters, letters and promotional memorabilia. The exhibition is on display
September 14, 2007 through September 10, 2008 and is curated by Ellen Fleurov, president of Crossroads Traveling Exhibition, Atlanta, and a nationally recognized independent scholar, writer and curator. The exhibit will travel across the U.S. throughout 2008 and 2009 and there are plans to present An Evening of Respect in other cities. These and other to-be-announced commemorations are being made possible with gracious support from various companies and organizations who are helping the
Redding Family keep the legacy of Otis Redding alive.