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(The Atlantic)   Flash Forward: If Otis Redding hadn't gotten on that plane one night almost 46 years ago, everything since would have sounded a bit different   ( divider line
    More: Obvious, Otis Redding, Steve Cropper, house band  
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736 clicks; posted to FarkUs » on 23 Jul 2013 at 1:08 PM (4 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2013-07-23 04:26:53 PM  
1 vote:

Uzzah: FirstNationalBastard: Not necessarily.

He could have flopped after Dock of the Bay. He could have  put out utter crap. He could have had the one major hit and went back to charting strictly on the R&B charts.

Actually, "Dock of the Bay" was released posthumously, and an argument could be made that it only hit #1 because of the attention paid to his death. Prior to his death, he put a few songs into the Top 40 on the pop (i.e. not R&B/soul) charts, including "I've Been Loving You Too Long," "Try a Little Tenderness," and even "Tramp" with Carla Thomas, but nothing into the Top 10.

I think it's fair to say that his career trajectory would have mirrored that of Stax Records: he would've peaked in '67-'69, and his star would've started to fade with the rise of disco-inflected soul in the early '70s. His sound was pretty stable, and he wasn't about to start doing Issac Hayes-type material just because tastes changed. He would've spent most of the '70s isolated in the soul charts like the rest of the Stax lineup -- Sam & Dave, the Staples Singers, etc., and would've largely gigged as a nostalgia act. Or worse, would've put out a lot of crap trying to stay relevant in late '70s/early 80s like Aretha Franklin. Whether he would've been able to resurge when soul got big again in the late-'80s (thanks to "The Big Chill" soundtrack reigniting interest in classic Motown) or the mid-'90s (when Stax records were getting attention being sampled for rap songs) is a tougher question.

Very possible. He could have also ended up sort of like Marvin Gaye (musically at least) and maintained a steady-if-not-gangbusters career through the 80s. "Dock of the Bay" might have done as well as it did because of the interest due to his death - but it's not like he was some obscure artist on an unknown label. It still would have done well, and on top of that its enduring popularity has little to do with his death.

Either way, we'd have still gotten to hear him sing for a lot more years than we did. Reading his name and Sam Cooke's in the same article (not that that's a rare occurrence) gives me a sad.

/For the record, I don't think either Otis Redding or Sam Cooke had the experimental natures to do what Marvin Gaye did.
2013-07-23 04:09:04 PM  
1 vote:
I'll take "Wild Speculation" for $1,000, Alex.
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