Track of the Day: 'Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay' by Otis Redding

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

Yesterday we had Georgia on our mind, and in today’s track, from Otis Redding, he “left my home in Georgia, headed for the Frisco Bay.” Here’s a reader in San Francisco, Doug:

For me, “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay” captures so much of the San Francisco experience (or at least the SF experience I’ve idealized): carefree, sitting overlooking the water, relaxing and listening to some amazing music. But as you can see from this playlist I made when I was moving back to California a few years ago, songs about California are kind of a dime a dozen (and I barely scratched the surface) …

If you have any reflections on a song about a specific place in California (real places—no Hotel Californias), drop us a note. Update from a reader in Oregon, Brian:

As an unabashed Pearl Jam fan, I have always been partial to their version of “Sittin on the Dock of the Bay” from several different live shows. (As a matter of fact, they do some other fantastic covers you should consider as well.)

From another reader:

As a former San Franciscan, I’d like to point out that “Dock of the Bay” is not a San Francisco song but a Sausalito song—another city on the “Frisco” Bay. Although neither city name is mentioned, just the Bay. (And the City and County of San Francisco is named after the Bay, not the other way around.)

(Track of the Day archive here. Pre-Notes archive here.)