Soul Singer Otis Redding Hosts Breakthrough Performance At Monterey Pop Festival

Otis Redding
Otis Redding

Otis Redding hosted his breakthrough performance at the Monterey Pop Festival today (June 17, 1967).

The Monterey Pop Festival was a three-day event that that took place on June 16, 17th and 18th.

The first of its kind festival featured an eclectic lineup of artists, ranging from Psychedelic Rock acts to Soul artists.

In addition to Otis Redding, artists like Lou Rawls and Booker T and the MGs, shared the stage with Rock acts like Quicksilver Messenger Service, Buffalo Springfield, The Who, Jefferson Airplane, Laura Nyro, The Beach Boys and others.

But the Monterey Pop Festival changed the career trajectory for three acts in particular: Otis Redding, Janis Joplin and Big Brother and The Holding Company, and the Jimi Hendrix Experience.

“As the climax of the second night, it marked not only the inception of a dialogue between Psychedelia and Soul, but a key moment of transition for both genres,” stated author Ian Inglis in his book “Performance And Popular Music: History, Place And Time.”

According to Booker T, The Monterey Pop Festival was a serious wake-up call for himself and Otis Redding.

“We had just come back from Europe and we had acceptance there,” Booker T said in “Soulsville, U.S.A.: The Story of Stax Records.”

“We never had acceptance [from 8] white audience in the United States,” Booker T said. “It was like Monterey should have been in Germany or maybe Holland, but it was California.”

After being led one stage by the Hells Angels, Otis took the 55,000 strong crowd through a gut wrenching set that included a number of tempos, in addition to call and response with the crowd, an interaction none of the other acts had accomplished.

The performance also had an impact on Otis Redding’s songwriting.

Otis Redding wrote what would later become his signature hit “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay” while he was staying on a houseboat in Sausalito, during a tour of the West Coast later in 1967.

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