Otis Redding never heard this memorable part of ‘Dock of the Bay’: ‘I was the only one in the room’

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Otis Redding and Steve Cropper had nearly completed work on “(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay” when Redding was lost amid a devastating December 1967 plane crash in Wisconsin.

That left Cropper — who served as co-writer, sideman and producer — to put the finishing touches on what would become Redding’s first-ever charttopping song — including a timeless riff that Redding, unfortunately, didn’t get to enjoy.

“I played acoustic guitar on the session, and overdubbed the electric guitar later,” Cropper tells the British and Irish Modern Music Institute. “I actually overdubbed it myself; I was the only one in the room. So, what I can tell you is, if you listen to ‘Dock of the Bay,’ Otis Redding never heard the guitar. I did that on a Friday afternoon, and he died in a plane crash on Sunday morning.”

“(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” was released in January 1968, with Otis Redding’s death still in the searing present. The song shot to the top of the charts in both America and the UK, won two Grammys and has remained a perennial radio favorite.

In fact, Cropper was presented with a stunning 10th million-air certificate for “The Dock of the Bay” from Broadcast Music Inc., recently. He accepted the award after playing BMI’s HDRadio-sponsored showcase.

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