When "Otis Blue/ Otis Redding Sings Soul" was released
in 1965, it showcased some of Otis Redding's best work as both a songwriter
and an interpreter. Redding wrote many songs that became hits for other
artists. "Respect" was the song that made soul sister Aretha
Franklin famous, but it was Redding who penned the anthem. Written
from a conversation with drummer Al Jackson in which Jackson told Redding,
"What are you griping about, you're on the road all the time, all you can
look for is a little respect when you come home," Redding's song exuded
passion and sexual drive.|
Equally successful as the songs Redding wrote were
the songs that he covered by other artists, such as the Rolling Stones'
"Satisfaction." Redding had never heard of the Stones or
"Satisfaction" before Steve Cropper played it for him, but he did such a
convincing job of making it his own that, according to Peter Guralnick, many believed the
Stones had gotten the song from him. It became his best-selling
single to that point, and the Stones themselves proclaimed Redding's
version the best they had heard. Critics saw Redding's ability as a cover
artist as one of his greatest talents. Bob Rolontz said, "It is part of the
quality of Otis Redding's dramatic and highly personalized style that he makes every
song he sings completely his own."
With the releases "The Otis Redding Dictionary of Soul"
and "The Soul Album," 1966 was a big year for Redding, and his popularity was expanding rapidly.
According to authors Jon Pareles and Patricia Romanowski, these two albums,
with their use of horn lines and stomp beat, have been deemed some of the best examples of
the Stax soul sound Redding helped to create. Songs such as "Try a Little Tenderness"
were also indicative of his improvisational recording style. Redding, who rarely took more
than two takes to record a song, said, "I am not a blues singer or an R&B singer. I'm a
soul singer. We go into the studio without anything
prepared, just record what comes out. That's soul- the way you feel."
In March of the following year he released an
album with Stax princess Carla Thomas called "King & Queen," with what author James Dickerson
calls "pre-rap" songs like "Tramp" that proudly showcased Redding's Southern roots. 1967 was also
the year American pop audiences would discover Redding's talents.