Happy 50th: Otis Redding, LIVE IN EUROPE
50 years ago this month, Otis Redding released his only live album to land in record stores during his lifetime.
Recorded at Paris’s Olympia Theater during the Stax/Volt tour of Europe, LIVE IN EUROPE finds Redding being backed by a band that knew his material as well as any band of the era possibly could: Booker T. & the MG’s. As such, it’s a tight performance from start to finish, one with a set list that offered a perfect mixture of covers – among them the Beatles’ “Day Tripper,” the Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” and the Temptations’ “My Girl” – and Redding’s own classic compositions, including “Can’t Turn You Loose” and “These Arms of Mine.” In truth, any show that starts with “Respect” and closes with “Try a Little Tenderness” is already on the road to classic status to begin with, but Redding gives it his all throughout the 10 tracks.
The live version of “Shake” was released as a single and hit the top 20 of Billboard’s R&B Singles chart (it topped out at #16), made it to #47 on the Hot 100, and even hit #28 on the UK Singles chart. The album, meanwhile, was a top-10 R&B hit, made it to #32 on the Billboard 200, and climbed to #14 on the UK Albums chart. Unfortunately, it was exactly six months to the day after LIVE AT EUROPE’s release that Redding was killed in a plane crash, but oh what a musical legacy he left behind.