#838: The Happy Song by Otis Redding
Otis Ray Redding Jr. was born in Dawson, Georgia, in 1941. At the age of two he moved to Macon, Georgia. His dad was a sharecropper and subsequently worked at the Air Force base at Macon. In his childhood he sang at a local African-American church choir and learned to play the guitar and piano. While he was a teenager, Otis performed gospel songs on Sundays on a local radio station, WIBB, earning $6 for each appearance. When his father got tuberculosis in 1956, Otis quit school to earn extra cash for his family. He worked as a well digger and a gas station hop. In 1958 he won a $5 prize at a teenage talent contest fifteen weeks in a row. In 1958 he joined Pat T. Cake and the Mighty Panthers and toured the chitlin circuit in the Deep South. Soon afterward, he joined the Upsetters to replace Little Richard who had given up rock ‘n roll for religion.