'(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay'Otis Redding
From: 'The Dock of the Bay' (1968)
Redding’s signature song finds the soul singer wearied from the road, but discovering a semblance of peace by staring out into the “Frisco Bay.” The music legend died mere days after recording his vocal for ‘Dock of the Bay,’ leaving friend and co-writer Steve Cropper to finish the track. The Booker T. and the M.G.’s guitarist, distraught over Otis’s death in a plane crash, struggled to complete it and even toyed with the idea of the Staple Singers laying down backing vocals. Instead, he opted for wave and seagull sound effects, along with a whistled coda that would become one of the song’s hallmarks. Redding’s bandleader, Sam “Bluzman” Taylor, was the one enlisted to whistle that signature bit from the end of ‘Dock of the Bay’ – the first posthumous No. 1 hit in U.S. history.