Otis Ray Redding, Jr. (September 9, 1941 - December 10, 1967) was an American soul singer-songwriter, record producer, arranger, and talent scout. He is considered one of the major figures in soul music and rhythm and blues (R&B), and one of the greatest singers in popular music. His open-throated singing was an influence on other soul singers of the 1960s, and he helped to craft the lean and powerful style of R&B that formed the basis of the Stax Sound. After appearing at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, he wrote and recorded "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay", which became the first posthumous number-one record on both the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B charts after his death in a plane crash. The Dock of the Bay reached number one on UK Albums Chart, becoming the first posthumous album to do so.
Redding was born and raised in the American state of Georgia. At age 15, he left school to support his family by working with Little Richard's backing band, The Upsetters, and by playing talent shows for prize money. In 1958, he joined Johnny Jenkins's band, The Pinetoppers, and toured the Southern United States while serving as driver and musician. An unscheduled appearance on a session led to a turning point in his career. He signed a contract with Stax Records and released his debut album, Pain in My Heart, in 1964. This album produced his first Stax single, "These Arms of Mine".
Although Redding's initial popularity was with African Americans, he later became equally popular among the broader American public. He and his group first played small gigs in the South, then performed at the Whisky a Go Go nightclub, their first concert in the western United States. Internationally, Redding later performed in Paris and London among other venues. Redding's death was devastating for Stax, which was on the verge of bankruptcy. Later Stax discovered that Atlantic Records owned the rights to the entire catalog. Redding received many posthumous accolades, including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Because of his influence on other artists, he received the honorific "King of Soul".