Fourth of six children, Otis was born in Dawson, Georgia to a sharecropper, Otis, Sr., I, moving at age 2 to Macon, Georgia, the man considered one of the greatest American Popular Music makers and a seminal artist in soul music and rhythm and blues. The gospel influenced singer who sang at the Vineville Baptist Church Choir himself influenced many soul artists of the 1960’s.


Decorative wall mask depicting Otis Redding,
Owner of the “BIG-O Ranch”


1951 – Took drum and singing lessons.

1955 – Ballard-Hudson High School, sang in the school band

1956 – Quit school to support his family and worked with Little Richard’s backup band, the Upsetters. Performed in talent shows at the historic Douglass Theater in Macon. Otis, Sr. by then had contracted tuberculosis and was often hospitalized.

1958 – Joined Johnny Jenkin’s band, the Pinetoppers, driving the band, singing, and touring southern states.

1960 – With the band Pat T. Cake and the Mighty Panthers, he toured southern states.

1960 – Son Dexter was born with Zelma Atwood. In the mid-1960’s Otis moved to Los Angeles with his sister Deborah. Zelma and children remained in Macon, GA. The couple had four children: Dexter, Demetria, Karla and Otis, Jr, III.

1961 – Signed with Confederate. Recorded his second single, “Shout Bamalama” (a rewrite of “Gamma Lamma”) and “Fat Girl”, together with his band Otis and the Shooters.

1962 – A Stax recording session captured his first single, “These Arms of Mine”.

1962 – Volt releases “These Arms of Mine” and “Hey, Hey Baby” Single sold over 800,000 copies

1963 – Records “That’s What My Heart Needs” and “Mary’s Little Lamb”

1964 – Otis released through Stax his debut album, Pain in my Heart

1965 – Records his second studio album, The Great Otis Redding Sings Soul Ballads

1965 – In a 24-hour-period on July 9-10 in Memphis, he and the studio crew arranged ten of the eleven new songs for his next album entitled Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul.

1966 – Performed in Los Angeles at Whiskey-A-Go-Go on the Sunset Strip. Toured Europe, singing in major cities like Paris and London.

1966 – Stax studio attempted to discourage but recorded “Try a Little Tenderness” previously recorded by Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra.

1966 – Stax booked a concert in London. Redding is interview at “the Eamonn Andrews Show”. Booking agent Bill Graham proposed that Otis play at the Fillmore Auditorium in late 1966, (paying Otis Redding $7,976 in 2020 value!).

1967 – Monterey Pop Festival, closing act on Saturday night. Sang “Respect” and “Satisfaction,” ending with “Try A Little Tenderness.” This would be his last major concert.

1967 – Wrote with Steve Cropper, recorded “Sittin’ On the Dock of the Bay”. First posthumous album to reach #1 on the UK Albums Chart. Otis received numerous posthumous accolades.

1967 – By the time he moved from Memphis to Macon to continue writing “Sweet Soul Music” he developed polyps on his larynx. Unsuccessful treating with lemon and honey, he was hospitalized in September 1967 at Mount Sinai Hospital in NY.

1967 – “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay” was written with Steve Cropper, recording the ending with an extemporaneous whistle.

1967 – Despite a warning from James Brown not to fly in his Beechcraft H18 airplane on December 9, Otis Redding, Jr. took his last flight. Cause of the crash is not known.

1967 – His service was held on December 18 to allow the 4,500 people to travel to an overflowing 3,000-seat hall. Jerry Wexler delivered the eulogy, saying: “Respect is something Otis achieved for himself in a way few people do. Otis sang “Respect When I Come Home.” And Otis has come home.” This is inscribed on a memorial plaque on the lakeside deck of the Madison convention center, Monona Terrace.

2002 – City of Macon honored Otis Redding, Jr. by unveiling a statue next to the Otis Redding Memorial Bridge crossing the Ocmulgee River.

2006 – The Rhythm and Blues Foundation named Redding it’s 2006 Pioneer Award.

2007 – Zelma Atwood Redding founded the Otis Redding Foundation which continues to offer in Macon programs offering music and arts education.

2013 – The Rhythm & Blues Music Hall of Fame inducted Otis Ray Redding, Jr. at Cleveland State University, Ohio.





Bowman House
Museum in Dresden, Maine
Recently opened
The Bowman House is a historic house on Bowman Lane, off Maine State Route 128, in Dresden, Maine, United States. It was built in 1762, early in the area’s colonial settlement history, and later served as the office of an ice harvesting business. Wikipedia
Address: 22 Bowman Ln, Dresden, ME 04342
Closed ⋅ Opens 11AM Thu
Phone: (207) 882-7169
Area: 7 acres
Opened: 1762
Architectural style: American Colonial
NRHP Reference Number: 71000071″



One of the most significant cultural icons, successful in many genres:
Pop, Country, R&B, Adult Contemporary and Gospel

1935 BORN January 8

1977 DIED, overdose of prescription drugs, age 42

1946 – 1977 Actively singing and performing. Did not receive formal musical training, could not read music.

1948 Moved with parents from Tupelo, MS to Memphis, TN, lived in rooming houses.

1950 Formed small band with neighboring brothers, began working as an usher in Loew’s State Theater

1953 Performs: TILL I WALTZ AGAIN WITH YOU – a recent hit for singer Teresa Brewer, in wild, flashy clothes, competing in L.C. Humes’ High School Annual Minstrel show in April

1953 Sang HOUND DOG in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His autograph on the abdomen of one girl and her thigh prompts an urgent message sent from the Catholic diocese’s newspaper to FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, warning that Presley was a definite danger to the security of the USA!

1954 Musical career seriously began in Memphis at age 13 with SUN RECORDS, producer Sam Phillips

1954 Cut his second acetate at Sun Records, I’LL NEVER STAND IN YOUR WAY, and another, IT WOULDN’T BE THE SAME WITHOUT YOU

1954 Following an unsuccessfully long night of recording on July 5, Sam Phillips of SUN RECORDS suddenly hears the sound and performer he was seeking when Elvis begins riffing the song THAT’S ALL RIGHT by Arthur Cudrup. Next morning, Memphis DJ Dewey Phillips played the song on his RED, HOT AND BLUE SHOW. Listeners begin eagerly calling to know who the singer was. “INSTANT” SUCCESS!

1954 Performs on LOUISIANA HAYRIDE – The Opry’s adventurous rival show broadcast to 198 radio stations in 28 states. He continues to perform for more than a year’s worth on that show. Inspired, Elvis discarded his $8 child sized guitar for the purchase of a Martin guitar for $175. His trio band begins playing.

1954 First television appearance: KSLA-TV. Played music considered ROCKABILLY.

1955 RCA VICTOR acquires Presley’s contract, managed by Colonel Tom Parker for more than two decades.

1956 First single: HEARTBREAK HOTEL, (Blue Suede Shoes) released by RCA Victor in January 27. Claims were made about how Presley urged the young to believe in themselves, unifying the generation.

1956 Camera angles show Elvis only from the waist up (and he was ordered not to gyrate) when appearing on CBS Television City in Los Angeles on the ED SULLIVAN SHOW, hosted that night by actor Charles Laughton.

1956 Performs live at the Mississippi-Alabama Fairgrounds in Tupelo in September. Fifty National Guardsmen were added to the police security to control the crowd

1956 December 4, Elvis has an impromptu jam session turned into a recording session with Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis. Phillips ensures the session is recorded.

1956 60 million viewers preferred to watch the STEVE ALLEN SHOW over the ED SULLIVAN SHOW. A judge in Jacksonville, FL ordered Presley to tame his act.

1956 Film debut: LOVE ME TENDER


1957 Third, final appearance on the ED SULLIVAN SHOW, shown from waist up only. Two days later Presley was classified A-1 and drafted into military service.

1957 Purchased an 18-room mansion he names GRACELAND on March 19 for $102,500. Nine miles from downtown Memphis the house was for him and his parents.

1957 October, films: JAILHOUSE ROCK with Judy Tyler

1958 March 24, drafted into military service, Sergeant w 1st Medium Tank Battalion,
32nd Armor Regiment, 3rd Armored Division. Received GOOD CONDUCT MEDAL

1958 Mother was diagnosed with hepatitis. She died when he was on leave on Aug 12

1958 Following training at Ft. Hood, TX. Introduced to 14-yr-old Priscilla Beaulieu.

1960-1968 Seven years break from live performances

1960’s FLAMING STAR (1960) AND wild in the country (1961) were less commercial films but Parker pressed on with his heavy film schedule to produce 27 films.

1966 Just prior to Christmas, Elvis proposed to Priscilla Beaulieu.

1967 May 1, Elvis marries Priscilla Beaulieu

1968 Return to the stage in a television comeback: ELVIS

1968 Priscilla has Lisa Marie on Feb 1, Elvis’ first and only child.

1968-1972 Extended concert residency and tours generate from Las Vegas shows

1968 ’68 COMEBACK SPECIAL, recorded on June 29, originally entitled ELVIS

1969 IF I CAN DREAM reached number 12 on the charts. Jerry Shilling claimed Elvis had told him he hadn’t been able to do anything like it for years. After watching the show for 60 minutes, he told Steve it was the greatest thing he had ever done in his life and gave his word that he would never sing a song he didn’t believe in.

1970’s When a journalist referred to him as the KING of ROCK & ROLL, Elvis quickly pointed to Fats Domino who was there, saying “NO, he is the REAL King of Rock and Roll.” Elvira (Cassandra Peterson) reported that he was so anti-drug when she met him, he discouraged her from smoking marijuana, telling her to never do that again. Elvis was deeply opposed to recreational drugs and rarely drank liquor after watching several of his family members become alcoholics.

1970 December 21, met with President Richard Nixon at the White House, explaining that he could be of help in countering the drug culture in young people. He asked Nixon for a BUREAU OF NARCOTICS & DANGEROUS DRUGS badge.

1971 January 16, Presley was named one of the U.S. Junior Chamber of Commerce and one of its annual TEN MOST OUTSTANDING YOUNG MEN OF THE NATION. City of Memphis name Highway 51 South: ELVIS PRESLEY BOULEVARD

1971 Deemed one of the best-selling music artists of all time. Received GRAMMY LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD, age 36

1971 Three studio albums were released: ELVIS COUNTRY, ELVIS SINGS THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF CHRISTMAS, and MERRY CHRISTMAS BABY (a raunchy old Charles Brown blues tune).

1971 An affair with Joyce Bova produced a pregnancy and abortion, saying he was “likely” to leave Priscilla who was busy having an affair with Mike Stone a karate instructor. Five months later, Elvis moved in with new girlfriend: Linda Thompson, songwriter, and Memphis beauty queen.

1972 July 10, evening sold out concert in Madison Square Garden became one of his biggest-selling albums, releasing the single: BURNING LOVE was Elvis’ last top ten hit on the US pop chart.

1972 MGM films Elvis in April for ELVIS ON TOUR which won him the GOLDEN GLOBE AWARD for BEST DOCUMENTARY FILM. Gospel album released that month: HE TOUCHED ME.

1972 Elvis Presley designed an elaborate concert jacket (rhinestone-studded eagle design on leather) which would be recognized as his signature design.

1973 First artist to be broadcast worldwide on January 14: ALOHA FROM HAWAII

1973 In December Elvis recorded 18 songs, a total that would produce two albums, released in 1974.

1973-1976 RCA and Parker concerned enough to request Elvis record the entire contents of six albums. Three of those went to number one: PROMISED LAND (1975), FROM ELVIS PRESLEY BOULEVARD, MEMPHIS, TN (1976), and MOODY BLUE (1977)

1974-1977 Addicted to prescription drugs, yet eight studio top ten singles were produced.

1975 MOODY BLUE topped the county chart, reaching the second spot on the adult contemporary chart in 1976.

1976 Releases the soul classic HURT. On July 13, Vernon Presley, deeply involved in his son’s financial affairs cut back on expenses by firing bodyguards (MEMPHIS MAFIA). Rumors at the time were that the bodyguards had become too loose with stories of Presley’s drug abuse.

1976 Presley returns to recording in Hollywood in March of 1975 but Parker’s attempts to schedule another session were unsuccessful. In 1976 RCA sent a mobile recording unit to GRACELAND where he completed his final recording.

1976 Linda Thompson and Elvis split in November, he advanced to another love: Ginger Alden, proposed and gave her an engagement ring two months later.

1977 March 31, Baton Rouge, Presley unable to get out of bed, four shows cancelled. Reminiscent of Howard Hughes craziness, cousin Billy Smith recalled hours of chatting with Elvis about past escapades, Monty Python routines, his reading of
spiritualism books.

1977 WAY DOWN is released in June. CBS tape two concerts for a TV special: ELVIS IN CONCERT to be broadcast in November.

1977 Elvis Presley’s final live performance was at MARKET SQUARE ARENA in Indianapolis on June 26.

1977 Elvis Presley died suddenly at Graceland at 3:30 PM on Tuesday, August 16.

1977 Tuesday, August 18, Presley’s funeral was held at Graceland. About 80,000 people lined the processional route to the Forest Hill Cemetery where he was buried next to his mother. WAY DOWN topped the country and UK singles within that week.

2018 Posthumously awarded PRESIDENTIAL MEDAL OF FREEDOM by DJT

MANY more awards, songs, albums, movies were made by Elvis,

but would require a full length book to enumerate them.


Luscious orbs of summer joy. Knowing how to properly snap the stem off the plant without ending up with a juicy red handful of squished fruit is truly an art. Knowing how to properly zip a nearly rotten berry into the side of your friends’ head is another matter.

Waiting on the corner by the mailbox on an early foggy summer morning I notice a runner coming down the road, hear loons crying on the surface of the lake, listen to the dull din of an old 25-horse boat motor, the older guy who lives in the cove trolling for fish again. The rattle and clank of the stake body farm pickup truck coming down the road to pick me up is what I have been standing here waiting for this morning. He stops to allow me to swing myself up into the back, where I sit on the floor/bed of the truck alongside three others who have been picked up to be delivered into today’s “picking field.”

When we arrived in the field, the fog continued to hover just above our heads. We had dressed in layers. The morning will be hooded sweatshirt weather. When the sun began to heat up the day, we slough off the sweatshirts to reveal a long-sleeved t-shirt over a tank top, allowing us to shed layers as we worked picking berries. The reddish brown skin on our hands and under our fingernails by the end of our weary days was not the incentive either. Our mothers complained about the strawberry stained clothing, but our noses seemed to remember the sweet smell of ripened fruit and the juicy taste we enjoyed in a hot dusty strawberry patch.

The pay was actually not what drew us to this summer job, thirsty laboring in dusty fields under hot July sunshine, but the camaraderie, the berry-slinging, the trash talking, the shared lunches, the complaining about picking conditions was what the crew looked forward to sharing. “I can’t even fill a box with these knobby things!” A common complaint until the field manager decided to move that picker to a more lucrative row. “Look at the size of this sucker” was another field cry whenever someone discovered the monster of all berries. The meager wages earned from these few weeks on a summer break made all the difference when going school-clothes shopping a couple of weeks later.

These are childhood memories from Maine in the 1960’s. I wonder what crews volunteer to pick berries for the local farms now? I see a lot of kids lingering around the center of town these days, seemingly looking for something to do. I know many elderly people struggling to manage independent living now who could definitely use some of the youth-energy of a small river town in Maine. I notice a multitude of HELP WANTED signs in many windows as I drive the 20-mile radius around the town where I live. Rather than considering farm work a chore, it was the “Facebook” of our time and a social experience where we learned how to have a conversation, how to care about someone else, what different families were like, and many new words!

Today, I am going to make a strawberry pie! Ummmmmmm.


Driving down the long hill in the familiar rural road of my childhood farming town, and cresting the first hill, I see a tractor pulling out of a muddy field after his first trip of the chilly March morning. Continuing along the slim road into the valley, I look up to watch a flock of sparrows swooping and diving through the dawning sky, like a silky scarf undulating in the breeze. A stately eagle soars in an unending and graceful circular pattern above the black and white cows grazing in the new green grass of the hayfield.

As I drove past the John Deere tractor, (a modern manure spreader or hay bale machine vs. the oxen drawn equipment or a farmer utilizing a scythe), I noticed the driver was pulling a manure spreader, flinging dung-balls all over the smooth asphalt, recently washed clean by a recent spring rain. When the tractor passes the farm, I saw what looked like giant “snowballs”… round hay bales shrink-wrapped in white plastic and piled high, looking like someone was constructing a fort next to the barn. Some farms make cartoon-like figures such as a snowman, a Christmas tree or other characters out of the piled hay bales.

I could not help but notice the passenger of the tractor, standing on a foot peg next to the flared fender over the large black knobby treads of the tractor tire. Ohhhhh, but wait! The Norman-Rockwellian picture screeched to a halt as I suddenly witnessed the passenger was checking his e-mail ….. on an iPhone!

Welcome to spring in Maine.