It is most likely that when someone’s in a relaxed state, he can make something that would resonate much of his circumstance. That’s what Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” exactly depicts. The song’s title is equally evocative of the place it describes. The incorporation of wave sound effects adds authenticity to the writer’s exact location at the time the song was written. The various musical instruments properly set on their respective tone made up for a perfect melodic blending. And what do we get out of these? It’s nothing but the most serene as well as lose song we’ve heard ever.

Taking aside those soothing external elements of the song, its lyrical content essentially suggested how disheartening the tune is. Sometimes, it exudes a minute creepy feeling. While the tune started off with lines that depict satisfaction with simple life, the narrator becomes more and more hopeless as the song progresses. Because of this, others interpreted the tune as Redding’s outlet to voice out his frustration at some people unsupportive of his attempted music style changes. This was clearly expressed in the song’s climactic bridge.

“Looks like nothing’s gonna change/ Everything still remains the same/ I can’t do what ten people tell me to do/ So I guess I’ll remain the same!”

Apparently, there’s a practical staging of war between the singer and the song as the stanzas and chorus proposed. More specifically, it leaves an equivocal lasting impression when finished – whether a glum anguish or an ultimate chill.

The Making of Redding’s Final Song

In August 1967, while Redding was on tour, he began the writing the song as he was sitting on a rented houseboat in Sausalito, California. Interestingly, in between his tours, he continued to scrawl lines of the song on hotel paper and napkins. With the help of producer and guitarist Steve Cropper, the writing of the song was completed. The two then joined at the Stax recording studio in Memphis, Tennessee to record the tune in November of that year. Redding’s attempt to evolve his sound contributed to the song’s slightly changed outcome. It’s somewhat different from most of the singer’s previous recordings. Still, he considered it incomplete and planned on recording the “final version” of the song. Such never happened though as his demise came early. On December 10, while on his tour again, his plane crashed into Lake Monona, outside Madison, Wisconsin claiming his and six others’ lives.

By the end of the year, the record was released to radio DJs. With the song’s release going along with the attention surrounding Redding’s death, it topped the Billboard Hot 100 in March 1968. That made the singer’s first visit to the chart’s top 20 and the first posthumous single to top the US charts. In the UK, the song peaked at No. 3 on the UK Singles chart.

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