Considering he's been dead since 1967, Otis Redding has had a quite a year. Last night Kanye West and Jay-Z released the video for "Otis," the hit single from their No. 1 album Watch the Throne, which samples the late singer's "Try a Little Tenderness." And now a star-studded tribute to the soul pioneer, who died at age 26 in a plane crash, will take place this September in his hometown, Macon, Georgia.
According to Allhiphop.com, the Sept. 4 event, titled An Evening of RESPECT after Redding's signature hit, will feature several renowned musicians, including Atlantic Records artist Musiq Soulchild, singer Timothy Bloom, violinist Ken Ford and legendary Stax Records guitarist Steve Cropper, one of Redding's earliest supporters and collaborators.
The event, which will also mark the 50th anniversary of the recording of Redding's stirring first single, "These Arms of Mine," is being hosted by the Big 'O' Youth Educational Dream Foundation, the charity founded by the singer's wife, Zelma Redding. "The Big 'O' Youth Educational Dream Foundation was founded to fulfill Otis’ dream to enrich the lives of young people by enabling them to continue their education through the many programs that we support," she said in a statement, "This is our fourth An Evening of RESPECT and we are excited about celebrating Otis’ 70th birthday in the city he loved, Macon."
The event is sure to garner even more attention this year in the wake of 'Ye and Jay's "Otis," which not only takes its name and music from singer, but is also officially listed as "featuring Otis Redding." The song entered the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 47 and the R&B charts at No. 15 last month, ending a 41-year hiatus from the charts for Redding—the longest such break ever for any recording artist. (Animated "group" Alvin and the Chipmunks—who reentered the charts in 2007 after a 45-year vacay with a different vocalist voicing the characters—doesn't count!)
It's great to see the King of Soul once again getting the "Respect" he's long deserved.
(Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)