Otis Ray Redding, Jr. (September 9, 1941 – December 10, 1967) was an American singer, songwriter, record producer, arranger, and talent scout. He is considered one of the greatest singers in the history of American popular music and a seminal artist in soul music and rhythm and blues. His singing style influenced many other soul artists of the 1960s. During his lifetime, his recordings were produced by Stax Records, based in Memphis, Tennessee, and exemplify the sound of Stax.
Born and raised in the US state of Georgia, Redding quit school at age 15 to support his family, working with Little Richard’s backing band, the Upsetters, and performing at talent shows for prize money. In 1958, he joined Johnny Jenkins’s band, the Pinetoppers, with whom he toured the Southern states as a singer and driver. An unscheduled appearance on a Stax recording session led to a contract and his first single, “These Arms of Mine,” in 1962. Stax released Redding’s debut album, Pain in My Heart, two years later.