Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Otis Redding and Carla Thomas’s 1968 “New Year’s Resolution” Is Still the Best of All the New Year’s Songs


 Carla Thomas and Otis Redding recorded their famous “King & Queen” album for Stax Records in Memphis in January 1967. The album was released in March 1967 and is considered one of the premier soul classics. Otis got to see its success- and a lot of other successes– all that year. But he died famously in a plane crash on December 10th. He never got to see “New Year’s Resolution” actually get its due on the holiday it celebrated.

Carla– very much alive in Memphis and still singing like a nightingale — recalled the making of the album with me a few weeks ago when she was in New York. She loved Otis — as a friend — and counts her time recording with him as a treasure. She remains the Queen of Memphis Soul (though she’s still not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame).

“New Year’s Resolution” is credited to Wendy Rene (Mary Frierson) and Randle Catron, two singers who were very famous locally in Memphis and had many regional hits. To me, it’s the best of all New Year’s songs. All the songs on the album were produced by “Staff,” as it reads on the label. But Isaac Hayes and Booker T Jones were most responsible for the success, and they play on the album as well.




Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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