Excerpt #4 From Stanley Booth Interview Series Volume 1: Otis Redding
In Excerpt #4 Booth discusses his career after learning the death of Otis Redding. The day after Booth learned of Redding’s death, he met Ahmet Ertegun and Jerry Wexler. In this installment Booth reveals the psychic landscape of the times where many revered figures died violent deaths. At the end of Excerpt #3 Booth was talking about meeting the two Atlantic Records moguls, which is where we begin this installment.
Stanley Booth: …Two gentleman who would effect my life profoundly. Those two days really turned my head around.
James Calemine: What was the next thing you wrote?
SB: The next thing I guess was the Saturday Evening Post piece about the Memphis Soul Sound. In the middle of this the Saturday Evening Post is dying. It existed for like 251 years, something like that—a long time. I was in the last issue after they went bankrupt. Or just before they went bankrupt. William Fulbright, the senator from Arkansas, who created the Fulbright Scholarships which are a wonderful memorial to him.
JC: The Memphis Soul Sound article later went into your 1992 book, Rythm Oil…
SB: That’s right. The Saturday Evening Post is where it originally appeared. I didn’t go to Otis’ funeral in Macon because I had a funeral in that Memphis Soul Sound article, with three white coffins lined up together in front of the altar. I thought there was no way to get one more coffin to compete even if it is Otis’. So that twisted that article around.
JC: Altamont happened two years—almost to the day—after Otis’ tragic plane crash.
SB: That’s right. The Stones book is tough to follow up because they’re not going to throw another Altamont for my benefit. Of course, the year before I had gone to England to meet the Stones and while I was there Dewey Phillips died. I’d kind of been through the ringer with all this violent death or death by misadventure, which is what they called Brian Jones’ death. Then, sometime later, somebody came into Al Jackson’s house, tied him to a chair and cut his throat.
JC: Did they ever find out who committed the crime?
SB: Never. It’s an open case. They suspected the wife at one point, but nothing ever came of that. It was terrifying.
JC: Especially if you were one of the other guys in the band…
SB: Oh yes…
Look for the next installment from The Stanley Booth Interview Series soon.