Songs Robbed from Otis Redding

The critic acclaimed, rightfully proclaimed King of Soul wrote the following tunes, but the accompanying fame was bestowed upon someone else. Lets hope he got comped rightfully with royalties.

1. Respect – Aretha Franklin

The song was originally crafted in the voice of a man, assertive yet pleading for respect from his wife. The tune was made famous when it was re-recorded by Franklin and emboldened by the voices of the 60’s civil rights movement. Aretha can get your Grandmother out of her seat at the wedding reception but does not get payed for a single play. Otis Redding & Estate takes a portion and the publisher walks home with whats left. Every time it’s played. Only in the US, though. Apparently America lacks some type of “reciprocal rights” agreement on an international level.

While some retro-grade activists may still cringe at the lyrics “All your kisses, sweeter than honey, well guess what? so is my money,” I liken it to any modern day rapper makin it rain hundreds. The only difference  is that Otis’s character held his women to the same degree of esteem as the song title spells out.

2. Hard to Handle – Black Crowes

I came upon The Black Crowes far too late in life to have their sound engrained into my subconscious. Yet Chris Robinson’s muddled recital of the chorus always does more for the libido than Reddings sexual swagger. Their concerts are a blast. They have two, hour and a half sets; a fifteen minute intermission so Robinson can hang out back stage. Say what you want about the southern stoner, but any lanky, border-line emaciated frame in bell-bottoms that can rock a harmonica to sold out crowds is cool with me. Plus, they may very well be the only band that survived without injury from the utter right-off of the early 90’s rock scene. Pearl Jam and The Red Hot Chili Peppers aside.

3. I Can’t Get No Satisfaction – The Rolling Stones

This one is under debate. Otis Redding recorded a version of Satisfaction in July 1965, a month after the ‘Stones had released the single in Britain. When asked about the song, Redding claims to have heard the famous riff before, but reinterpreted the lyrics and reimagined the melody with a horn section. “I use a lot of words different than the Stones’ version,” Redding noted. “That’s because I made them up.”

My five year old niece can “re-envision” lyrics to a Pussycat Dolls song. I’d actually prefer her to, considering the blatantly sexual lyrics that adolescents recite unbeknownst of their meaning. In the same vein, Ot-dogs lyrics are a more child-friendly version of the ‘Stones classic.

Do we fault him for ripping the song? Not really. Even Keith Richards, proprietor of the eternal riff, credits Martha and the Vandella’s “Dancing in the Street”  for inspiration and claims that the original distortion in the song was meant to serve as the placeholder for a horn section. Perhaps Otis Redding was just doing The Rolling Stones a solid.


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