500 Greatest Songs of All Time

Rolling Stone's definitive list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.

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Otis Redding, '(Sittin' on) the Dock of the Bay'

26. Otis Redding, '(Sittin' on) the Dock of the Bay'

Writers: Redding, Steve Cropper
Producer: Cropper
Released: Jan. '68, Volt
16 weeks; No. 1

A few days after his starmaking set at the Monterey Pop Festival in June 1967, Redding stayed on a houseboat in Sausalito, California, while he played the Fillmore in San Francisco. He wrote the first verse to "Dock of the Bay" on that boat, then completed the song with guitarist Cropper in Memphis. Just a few days later, Redding was on tour with the Bar-Kays when his private plane crashed into Lake Monona in Madison, Wisconsin. While divers searched for Redding's body, Cropper kept his mind busy by mixing "Dock of the Bay." On December 11th, 1967, the plane was pulled out of the lake, with Redding's body still strapped into the co-pilot's seat.

Appears on: The Dock of the Bay (Atlantic) 


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