In just a few short years, Otis Redding became one of the most admired and influential soul musicians, and he is still praised by many as the greatest popular-music vocalist ever to call Georgia home.
Born on September 9, 1941, in Dawson, in Terrell County, Redding moved with his family to Macon when he was three years old. In order to offer financial help to his struggling family, Redding dropped out of Macon’s Ballard Hudson High School in the tenth grade and went to work as a member of Little Richard’s rock-and-roll band, the Upsetters. Redding met his wife, Zelma Atwood, in 1959, and the couple married in 1961. Two of their sons, Dexter and Otis III, would become musicians and music producers.
Influenced by Little Richard, Sam Cooke, and his own Baptist church upbringing, Redding began his musical career in earnest in 1960 as a vocalist with fellow Macon resident Johnny Jenkins and his band, the Pinetoppers, who were favorites on the southern college music circuit… read more