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Otis Redding – Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay – 1968

About The Song

“Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding, released in 1968, is a soulful and introspective ballad that reflects on life’s struggles and the search for inner peace. The song is best known for its poignant lyrics, Redding’s emotive vocals, and the unique incorporation of sounds like seagulls and waves.

Five Facts:

  1. Posthumous Release: Otis Redding recorded “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay” just days before his tragic death in a plane crash on December 10, 1967. The song was released posthumously in 1968 and became his first and only song to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100.
  2. Whistling Interlude: The distinctive whistling heard in the song’s instrumental break was added by Otis Redding spontaneously during the recording session. This whimsical and soulful whistle has since become one of the song’s defining features.
  3. Influence of Monterey Pop Festival: Redding’s experience at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, where he witnessed the performance of acts like The Who and Jimi Hendrix, inspired him to explore new musical directions. “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay” reflects this evolution in his style, incorporating a more laid-back and reflective sound.
  4. Collaboration with Steve Cropper: Redding collaborated with guitarist and songwriter Steve Cropper on “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay.” Cropper played a crucial role in co-writing and producing the song, contributing to its distinctive sound.
  5. Experimental Studio Techniques: The song’s production involved some experimental techniques, such as the use of ocean sounds (waves and seagulls) in the background. This added a unique atmospheric quality to the track, enhancing its contemplative mood.



Sittin’ in the morning sun
I’ll be sittin’ when the evening comes
Watching the ships roll in
Then I watch them roll away again, yeah

I’m sittin’ on the dock of the bay
Watchin’ the tide roll away, ooh
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 nothing’s gonna come my way

So, I’m just gon’ sit on the dock of the bay
Watchin’ the tide roll away, ooh
I’m sittin’ on the dock of the bay
Wastin’ time

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, listen

Sittin’ here resting my bones
And this loneliness won’t leave me alone, listen
Two thousand miles I roam
Just to make this dock my home, now

I’m just gon’ sit at the dock of a bay
Watchin’ the tide roll away, ooh
Sittin’ on the dock of the bay
Wastin’ time