Like way too many of the soul legends on this list, Otis Redding died tragically young. He was just 26 when his plane crashed into a Wisconsin field following a Cleveland concert. Months earlier he was introduced to a wider audience when he played a now-legendary set at the Monterey Pop Festival, and days earlier he had finished work on "(Sittin' On The) Dock Of The Bay" – which went on to become the most famous song of his career. The Georgia native cut most of his most famous songs – including "I Can't Turn You Loose," "That's How Strong My Love Is" and "Try A Little Tenderness" – with the Stax house band Booker T. & the MGs.
"Otis had the softness of Sam Cooke and the harshness of Little Richard, and he was his own man," Booker T. & the MGs guitarist Steve Cropper told Rolling Stone in 2004. "He was also fabulous to be around, always 100 percent full of energy. So many singers in those days, with all due respect, had just been in the business too long. They were bitter from the way they were treated. But Otis didn't have that. He was probably the most nonprejudiced human being I ever met. He seemed to be big in every way: physically, in his talent, in his wisdom about other people. After he died, I was surprised to find out I was the same age as he was, because I looked up to him as an older brother."
• Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Artists of All Time: Otis Redding
• Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time: 'The Dock of the Bay' by Otis Redding