Otis Redding III passed away at the age of 59. The son of the legendary Otis Redding, Redding III made music a familial affair by forming the funk band called The Reddings. The musical ensemble included Redding III, as lead guitarist, alongside his brother, Dexter Redding, on bass and vocals, and rounding them out, Mark Lockett, their cousin, on drums, keyboards and lead vocalist. The band recorded six albums from 1980 to 1988: The Awakening (1980), Class (1981), Steamin’ Hot (1982), Back To Basics (1983), If Looks Could Kill (1985), The Reddings (1988).
The Reddings hit commercial success with their single, “Remote Control,” in December 1980. The song was from their debut album The Awakening, and hit #6 on the Billboard Hot Soul Singles chart, and #89 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Their album finale The Reddings, reached #88 on the US Billboard album chart, and the song “Call The Law,” reached #16 on the Billboard Hot Black Singles Chart on November 26, 1988. Shortly after their final album, Redding III toured with soul singer Eddie Floyd. He joined him as lead guitarist, where he also lended his vocals for special performances of songs by his late father, Otis Redding. According to an interview with WCSH-TV in Portland, Maine, Redding III wasn’t always comfortable singing his father’s songs. He gained confidence through his experience on the road with Floyd. He talked to the station in a 2018 interview where Redding III shared, “[Floyd] said, ‘You can play guitar with me, but you’re going to have to sing a few of your dad’s song.’” He went on to say, “I was like, ‘Huh? I don’t sing,’ you know. And he was like, ‘Well, you’re going to sing “Dock of the Bay” with me tonight.’” From then on, Redding III continued to perform his father’s greatest hits, singing at private events, weddings, benefits, as well as a 2018 Otis Redding tribute concert onstage at Carnegie Hall.
He recalled in the same interview, “No matter how hard I try to do my own thing, you know, it’s like… ‘sing on of your daddy’s songs…’ So I go ahead and do what people want, and I live with it. But I’m not under any pressure and I don’t put myself mentally under any pressure to go begging for record deals.”
In a statement on April 19, the family confirmed Otis Redding III’s passing with the following words released by his sister Karla Otis Redding-Andrews:
“It is with heavy hearts that the family of Otis Redding III confirms that he lost his battle with cancer last evening at Atrium Health Navicent in Macon, Ga. Otis was 59 years old. Please keep our family in your prayers at this time and please respect our privacy as we consume this huge loss.
Arrangements will be announced at a later date.”
On April 25, the family added this statement, shared on The Otis Redding Foundation Facebook page:
“All condolences and flowers for the late Otis III can be sent to the Otis Redding Foundation located at 339 Cotton Ave in Macon, Ga.”