In the spring of 1967 Otis Redding and other Stax stars
left for the Stax-Volt Revue tour of Europe, which became a validation of
Redding's success, according to author Rob Bowman. The audiences loved him, and the tour made him a
star in Europe. Wayne Jackson said, "When Otis got through with them
it was total chaos. People were weeping, gnashing their teeth, screaming
and jumping up and down." In October 1967, the London magazine "Melody Maker"
awarded Redding the International Male Vocalist of the Year, a position held for
the previous 10 years by Elvis Presley.|
Redding's career reached a peak in June 1967 when he
performed at the Monterey International Pop Festival. Called the festival's "sole soul,"
by author Ed Ward, Redding was the final performer in the three-day concert. It was the largest
audience of his career, and his wife Zelma said, "I've never
seen Otis so excited or proud. He said, 'It's gonna put my career up
some more. I think I'm gonna reach an audience that I've never had before.'"
Redding and his band showed up in matching lime-green suits after the
Jefferson Airplane as people were starting to leave, but Redding stopped
them with his energetic performance, and they stayed and gave him a standing ovation.
For the pop audience, author Gerri Hirshey said, the "Monterey
appearance has been likened to the discovery of the Dead Sea
scrolls." Jerry Wexler, executive at Atlantic Records, said,
"Otis Redding was responsible for the fact that so much of the young
white audience dug Soul the way the black does."
After taking two months off to have throat surgery,
Redding came back with strong determination to record, and in late
November and early December he put out four LPs and a Christmas single. Other artists
were taking note; Janis Joplin, who said she learned from Otis
"to push a song instead of just sliding over it," was a fan, and Bob
Dylan went to see him perform four nights in a row.
In early December Redding recorded what was to become his
crossover hit. Written in Sausalito, California while sitting for hours
on a houseboat replaying the Beatles' "Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club
Band," "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay" was Redding's pop masterpiece,
signaling his creative development as an artist. Some called the
record "too pop," a sellout to his soul roots, but it became Redding's best
known and only number one song.