On this date in 1968, one of the iconic records of the decade was released: Otis Redding's "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay." Redding co-wrote the song with guitarist Steve Cropper, and he recorded it in late November 1967, with some more work on it on December 8. Two days later, Redding died in a plane crash in Lake Monona in Madison WI. "Dock of the Bay" became the first posthumous single to top the US charts, eventually selling more than 4 million copies worldwide. It was also one of the most significant crossover records of the 1960s, topping the Rhythm & Blues (read: black music) charts, AND the pop (read: white) charts. At the March 1969 Grammy Awards ceremony, honoring records released in 1968, "Dock of the Bay" record earned two awards: Best R&B Song, and Best R&B Male Vocal Performance. (Best Female R&B Performance? Aretha Frankln, "Chain of Fools." And the "Song of the Year" of 1968? "Little Green Apples." Yes, you read that correctly.)
Check out this nostalgically innocent music video of "Dock of the Bay."
And a big thanks to my 1968 college classmates Ellen Kirschner, Josh Fogel, Iano Sereno, and Peter Wolff.