Otis Redding Foundation Announces Celebration for the Soul King’s 81st Birthday

The Otis Redding Foundation has announced its plans to celebrate what would be the legendary singer’s 81st birthday. The two-day affair will be held from Sept. 9 through Sept. 10 in Macon, Georgia, where the King of Soul was raised.

On Redding’s birthday (Sept. 9), the Foundation will host a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Otis Redding Center for the Arts, a multipurpose space committed to musical education for students ages 3 to 18. Slated to open in 2023, the Center will be equipped with learning labs, collaborative spaces, practice rooms, and a stage for student performances. 

Later that night, at 7 p.m. ET, Grammy-winning musician Robert Glasper will headline “An Evening of Respect,” a tribute concert with performances by country star Mickey Guyton and jazz musician Zach Wilson. The show will take place at Macon’s historic Grand Opera House. Tickets range from $60 to $150 and are available now.

On Saturday, Sept. 10, the Foundation will host the “Big ‘O’ Homecoming Show” at Hargray Capitol Theatre. Headlined by The War and Treaty, the tribute show will include performances by Kendra Morris, Monophonics, DKOMX, Aläz and Reese Soul. General admission is $50 and balcony seating is $65. Tickets are available now.

“Our family is elated to celebrate my dad’s legacy in person for the first time since the pandemic,” says Karla Redding-Andrews, vice president and executive director of the Otis Redding Foundation. “We are happy to bring the weekend-long celebration back to Macon and thank the countless patrons who have supported the Otis Redding Foundation since my mother established it in 2007. We’re excited to share our vision of musical education with the community.”

The Otis Redding Foundation’s mission is to empower, enrich, and motivate all young people through programs involving music, writing and instrumentation.

In 1964, Redding released his debut album, Pain In My Heart. It included the lead single, “These Arms of Mine,” a self-penned song Redding recorded at the end of a session at Stax Records in 1962. Redding, who performed with Johnny Jenkins and the Pinetoppers, drove Jenkins to Stax in Memphis, Tennessee, for a recording session that August. Since Jenkins finished the session early, Stax co-owner Jim Stewart allowed Redding to cut a few songs, which is how “These Arms of Mine” and the B-side “Hey Hey Baby” came to be.

The following year, Redding released two studio albums, The Great Otis Redding Sings Soul Ballads and Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul. The latter album included “Respect,” later covered by Aretha Franklin, which peaked at No. 35 on Billboard Hot 100.  

Redding released three more albums before his untimely death in December 1967. He was 26 when he died in a plane crash.  

Redding’s first posthumous album, The Dock of the Bay, was released in February 1968. It included the Hot 100 chart-topper “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay,” which spent four weeks in the top spot. The song also scored Redding two Grammy Awards at the 11th ceremony (Best Male R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Song). “Dock of the Bay” was Redding’s final recording.

Revisit Otis Redding’s discography on his official website.

R&B

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