Three months after he died in a plane crash, Otis Redding posthumously received gold record on March 11, 1968, for (Sittin’ on) the Dock of the Bay.
In San Francisco for shows at the Fillmore West just days after his famed performance at the Monterey Pop Festival in June 1967. Redding was staying on a houseboat in Sausalito when the inspiration came for Dock Of The Bay. Redding wrote the first verse of the song sitting on a pier on San Francisco Bay,
In December 1967, he joined of that year he joined producer and guitarist Steve Cropper at Stax Records Studio A in Memphis for what turned out to be his last recordings. Redding and Cropper completed the music and lyrics (Sittin' on) The Dock of the Bay, which was recorded on December 6 and 7.
Back on tour just days after the session was completed, Redding’s charter plane. on a landing approach from Cleveland, went down Dec. 10 in the frigid waters on Lake Monona in Madison, Wis. Redding and seven others were killed. Only one passenger, Ben Cauley of the Bar-Kays, survived. Redding was 26 years old.
The Dock Of The Bay was released in early 1968. The record, which earned Redding a posthumous Grammy Award for Best R&B Song , has been certified by BMI for more than 8 million plays, according to Stax Records.
Personal note: I was at the Monona Terrace in Madison at my wife's high school reunion a few years ago and went outside to look at the lake. I saw a plane was flying over the lake en route to the Madison airport, and I was hit by a feeling of melancholy. I was remembering Otis Redding and thinking about about that December night long ago when his plane went down. I go to Madison almost every year and I never see Lake Monona without thinking about Otis Redding.