While on tour with the Bar-Kays in August 1967, Otis Redding wrote the first verse of the song, under the abbreviated title "Dock of the Bay," on a houseboat in California. He had just completed his famed performance at the Monterey Pop Festival just weeks earlier. While touring in support of the albums King & Queen (a collaboration with female vocalist Carla Thomas) and Live in Europe, he continued to scribble lines of the song on napkins and hotel paper. In November of that year, he joined producer and guitarist Steve Cropper at the Stax recording studio in Memphis, Tennessee, to record the song.
It was actually recorded by Redding twice in 1967, including once just days before his death in a plane crash. The song was released on Stax Records' Volt label in 1968, becoming the first posthumous single to top the charts in the US. It reached number 3 on the UK Singles Chart.
After Redding's death, Cropper mixed "Dock of the Bay" at Stax Studios. He added the sound of seagulls and waves crashing to the background, as Redding had requested, recalling the sounds he heard when he was staying on the houseboat.
"(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay" has been covered by a multitude of diverse artists. Let's look at the original and then some of the better know cover versions.
If you love the song, check out our Soul Spinners playlist on Spotify...