Tuesday, December 4, 2007


“OTIS REDDING – FROM MACON TO MEMPHIS: An Exhibit from the Private Collection of Zelma Redding”

December 10, 2007 – April 30, 2008

DECEMBER 4, 2007, MEMPHIS, TN – His rise in the music industry was nothing short of meteoric. He arrived at Stax Records in 1962 as the driver and equipment handler for Johnny Jenkins & the Pinetoppers, a band with whom he had occasionally performed in and around his native Macon, Georgia. At the end of the evening, after having asked all day for a chance to sing, Stax Records founder Jim Stewart and Booker T. & the MGs guitarist and songwriter Steve Cropper gave him that chance. There in the famed Studio A, when Otis Redding began singing "These Arms of Mine," the world changed forever. For the next five years, Redding would record hit after hit, take Europe by storm, and enthrall thousands of love children at the Monterey Pop Festival alongside the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Jefferson Airplane. But the world changed again that same year, when, on December 10, 1967, Redding, the pilot, and all but two members of his touring band the Bar-Kays were killed when his plane crashed in Lake Monona, just a few minutes from the airport in Madison, Wisconsin, at the age of 26. Only Bar-Kay trumpet player Ben Cauley survived the crash; fellow Bar-Kay member James Alexander was on a different, commercial flight.

Today, the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, located at the site of Stax Records in Memphis, Tennessee, where Redding recorded the songs that captured the hearts of millions, announced that it will be home to a very special exhibit to pay homage to the singer, loving husband, and father. "OTIS REDDING: FROM MACON TO MEMPHIS - An Exhibit from the Private Collection of Zelma Redding" opens on Monday, December 10, 2007 in commemoration of Redding's passing, and will be on display through April 30, 2008. With items on loan from Otis Redding's widow and daughter, Zelma and Karla Redding-Andrews, the exhibit features a collection of never-before-shown family photographs taken on the Reddings' 300-acre ranch outside Macon, and shows more than Otis Redding the singer and entertainer. Redding is seen petting his cattle, holding his son Otis Redding III, pitching hay from his barn, and engaged in other activities that portray him at home. The exhibit also includes personal mementos from Mrs. Redding such as telegrams of condolence from Booker T. & the MGs, then-Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter, Nina Simone, the Staple Singers, the Stax Records “family,” and others.

"Otis Redding had an impact on the world in a very short period of time that most musical artists never achieve in a long lifetime," said Marc Willis, CEO of the Soulsville Foundation, the nonprofit parent company that operates the Stax Museum, Stax Music Academy, and The Soulsville Charter School. "It is a privilege for the Stax Museum to host this special exhibit and celebrate Otis Redding's life and career, and we are grateful to Zelma Redding and Karla Redding-Andrews for sharing these very personal items with us and helping organize this exhibit. In many ways, Otis Redding is one of the reasons the Stax Museum exists today."

"Stax Records was like a second home for Otis," stated Zelma Redding. "He recorded some of his biggest hits there and worked with some of the world's best musicians. We are pleased to be able to share some of our personal family moments in this exhibit."

In addition to the artifacts on loan from Zelma Redding and Karla Redding-Andrews, “OTIS REDDING: FROM MACON TO MEMPHIS” contains several items on loan from private collector Bob Grady and never-before-shown artifacts from the Stax Museum archives. “OTIS REDDING: FROM MACON TO MEMPHIS” is hosted with the assistance of ArtsMemphis, the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, and the Big “O” Youth Educational Dream Foundation, which the Redding family founded in 2007 in an effort to continue Redding’s dream of encouraging and assisting youth by enhancing their lives through education and the arts.


Max said...

He had one of the most extraordinary voices in music. I would not miss this exhibit for anything.
Thank you Otis and Stax for all of the amazing music!

Murpheus57 said...

There's not a day that passes that I don't listen to at least one song by Otis. I was 10 when he died, and I remember missing him then. No different 40 years later. In September, my wife and I visited the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in Macon,and a special yearlong exhibit "Otis Redding: I've Got Dreams to Remember" -- -- had just opened. It's very cool and also has personal artifacts from Zelma's collection. (I was so proud to have my picture taken on the Otis Redding Bridge. I remember when then-Gov. Jimmy Carter named the bridge after Big O, long before Jimmy reached the White House!) I've dreamed of visiting Stax in Memphis; now I've got to go! To Zelma and Otis' children, I cannot convey how much I love his music. But more than his music, he left a great imprint as a caring Soul man!

Virginia said...

Is there ANY way this exhibit can extend into the beginning of May when so many tourists are in town for the Music Fest (and visiting Stax)?!

Sandra Fay said...

I live in Tennessee now and I went to Stax a few years ago while I was working there two weeks and I tell everybody that I went into the auditorium on that Saturday and the first man I saw on the screen was Otis singing and sweating royally. I was singing with him and crying as I remembered him when Iwas growing up in Alabama. I have bought Otis' greatest and I heard on the radio today in my car, "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay" and I was singing with him again.

Sandra Fay said...

I came to Memphis a few years ago to be there two weeks to work and I visited the Stax Museum on Saturday and I tell everybody that when I went into the auditorium to see the presentation, the first man on the screen on stage performing was Otis and he was singing royally. I was singing with him and the few other ladies with their husbands and I was wiping tears. I have bought all of Otis' greatest and I heard in my car today, "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay".

Fred said...

Otis Redding is my favourite singer of all time and will always be so. It was in my early high school days that I bought my first soul album which was Otis Redding sings 'Soul Ballads'. Otis hooked me on to soul music and I have been listening to it ever since. He was such a talented individual and helped create a lot of the Memphis sound. The voice was just so soulful no matter what songs he sang and he was also a dynamic performer.

We had all purchased tickets in Toronto to see Otis in 1967, but he cancelled when he had the throat surgery. It would have been incredible to see him live and regrettably I never got the chance.

I did visit the Stax museum this year and was filled with excitement and memories as I went through all the exhibits. Stax created music for the whole world and should always be remembered. Otis and Stax made me a 'soulman' for life. Keep up the good work at Soulsville.

Fred Fotopoulos

Anonymous said...

i <3 stax
alot of teens my age dont aprreciate "real" music
all this rap crap
its boring and unoriginal
sure i listen to it
but honestly the "oldies" are WWAAAAAYYY better
it helps my dad works there
i <3 u daddy!!!

Anonymous said...

I just returned from Memphis and paid a visit to the STAX Museum. The Otis Redding exhibit was truly amazing as was the entire museum experience. It's nice to know that the history of STAX and its enormous impact on music is recognized and that there are dedicated and committed people working to preserve its legacy as well as its original spirit through the Music Academy. I was so impressed I purchased a family membership on the spot. --JT