Tuesday, September 1, 2009

(Sittin' On) Dock of the Bay; Otis Redding

One of the websites where I take information about this kind of tune is the Rolling Stone magazine website, right here. They made a toplist (don't know if it is oficial) with the six best whistling songs. Patience and Don't Worry, Be Happy have already appeared in this blog. Posting, now, (Sittin' On) Dock of the Bay, will remain only two, that will come in the next updates.

This song was written and recorded by Otis Redding, shortly before his death. Redding was a brillant soul music singer and died at 26 in a plane crash (his aeroplane crashed into Lake Monona, Wisconsin) — days before his most sucessful song, this “Dock of the Bay”, being released. An unfortunate disaster, because he was going to be an artist of first magnitude, with his “ability to convey strong emotion through his voice”.

The Rolling Stone magazine (today is merchandising day! xD) ranked Redding the eighth greatest singer of all time and “Dock of the Bay” the 28ª of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. As it could not leave of being, it reached the #1 on the Bilboard Hot 100 for 4weeks in 1968.

In a 1990 interview on NPR's Fresh Air, the guitarist Steve Cropper, co-writer of this song, explain how it came: “Cropper says Redding came into the studio to record ‘(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay’ with only one line: ‘Sittin’ in the morning sun.’

“The way I wrote with Otis, it was a pretty simple formula, actually,' Cropper says. 'Otis was just bigger than life. It was real easy to write about Otis, and if you listen to any of the other songs that have 'Cropper' written on them, where I was the co-writer with Otis, usually those songs are about him — you know, 'Mr. Pitiful' and all these other songs. And so I just started writing. And he had just left San Francisco, where he played at the Fillmore.

“I thought he was talking about watching the big ships come in, you know, by the San Francisco Bridge, Golden Gate Bridge,' he says. 'And what he was really referring to were the ferries that ran back and forth to Sausalito there. So the rest of the song, where I said, you know, 'I left my home in Georgia, headed for the Frisco Bay,' it was just about him going out there to perform at the Fillmore.

“Even though most of Redding's previous songs were about loneliness, including 'Mr. Pitiful' and 'Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song),' '(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay' didn't lack the emotion with which he usually sang.

“I think the difference in 'Dock of the Bay' — just lyrically, it hits the masses,' Cropper says. 'It hit the working man. It hit everybody. You know, 'I'm working my can off, and it seems like nothing's going to happen, nothing ever comes my way.' It's, you know, 'My whole life is about bad luck,' and that sort of thing. And, 'I'm just going to take life as it comes.' ... That's why I think it hit so many people.”

In the always-present Songfacts.com, I found this lovely information: “When Otis recorded this, he and Cropper didn't have a last verse written, so he whistled it. He planned to return to Memphis and fill in the verse after performing in Madison, Wisconsin, but he died before he had the chance. When Cropper produced the song, he left the whistling in, and it fit the mood of the song perfectly. It is probably the most famous whistling in any song”.

Sittin' in the mornin' sun
I'll be sittin' when the evenin' come
Watching the ships roll in
And then I watch 'em roll away again, yeah

I'm sittin' on the dock of the bay
Watching the tide roll away
Ooo, I'm just sittin' on the dock of the bay
Wastin' time

I left my home in Georgia
Headed for the 'Frisco bay
'Cause I've had nothing to live for
And look like nothin's gonna come my way

So I'm just gonna sit on the dock of the bay
Watching the tide roll away
Ooo, I'm sittin' on the dock of the bay
Wastin' time

Look 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, yes

Sittin' here resting my bones
And this loneliness won't leave me alone
It's two thousand miles I roamed
Just to make this dock my home

Now, I'm just gonna sit at the dock of the bay
Watching the tide roll away
Oooo-wee, sittin' on the dock of the bay
Wastin' time.


1 comment:

  1. i as a young girl used to listen to my mother play this song she listen to it all the time,i myself started listen to it my self i think it is a great song,im older now and i love the song he had a besutiful voice, so as marvin gaye i still play his songs i also play the temptation i just love the old music.may they all resy in peace.msnewyork...all are soley missed.