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Pain in My Heart

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This article is about the Otis Redding album. For the 2013 single, see Herrick (band).
Pain in My Heart
Studio album by Otis Redding
Released January 1, 1964
Recorded 1962–1963
Genre Deep soul, Southern soul, Soul
Length 30:17
Label Atco
Producer Jim Stewart
Otis Redding chronology
Pain in My Heart
The Great Otis Redding Sings Soul Ballads

Pain in My Heart is the debut album of soul singer-songwriter Otis Redding. Redding recorded for Volt Records, a subsidiary of Memphis, Tennessee based Stax Records; Volt LP releases were initially issued on the Atco label, which released this album (with the singles issued on the Volt label).

The album includes four successful Redding singles released in 1962 and 1963: "These Arms of Mine", "That's What My Heart Needs", "Security", and the title track. Since Billboard did not publish an R&B singles chart from late 1963 to early 1965, the R&B chart peaks of the latter two singles are unknown.[1]


As a member of the Pat T. Cake and the Mighty Panters, Redding toured in the Southern United States, especially on the Chitlin' circuit. These performance venues were safe for African-American musicians during the age of racial segregation, which lasted until the early 1960s.[2] Guitarist Johnny Jenkins, who helped Redding win a talent contest at the Hillview Springs Social Club 15 times in row and also at the talent show "The Teenage Party", left the band to become a featured artist with the Pinetoppers.[3] Around this time, Redding met Phil Walden, the future founder of the recording company Phil Walden and Associates (even though without an associate),[4] and later Bobby Smith, who ran Confederate Records, a small label. He signed with Confederate and recorded his second single, "Shout Bamalama" (a rewrite of his "Gamma Lamma"), together with his band Otis and the Shooters.[5][6] Wayne Cochran, the only solo artist signed to Confederate, became Pinetoppers' bass guitarist.[3]

At the same time, Walden started to look for a record label. Atlantic Records representative Joe Galkin was interested in working with Jenkins and around 1962 proposed to send him to Stax studio in Memphis. On the way to a Pinetoppers studio session, Redding drove for Jenkins, as the latter did not have a driver's license.[7] Jenkins performed with Booker T. & the M.G.'s, and when the session ended early, Redding received the opportunity to perform two songs. The first was "Hey Hey Baby", but studio chief Jim Stewart thought it sounded too much like Little Richard. Next, he performed "These Arms of Mine", later becoming his first single on Stax. Subsequently after the performance of the latter, Redding was signed by Stax.[8]

Recording and release[edit]

Pain in My Heart includes songs from Redding's 1962–1963 sessions. Stewart signed Redding for Stax and released Redding's debut single "These Arms of Mine", with "Hey Hey Baby" on the B-side. "These Arms of Mine", released on the Volt sister label on October 1962, but charted in March the following year,[9] became one of his most successful songs, selling more than 800,000 copies.[10]

In the 1963 session, "That's What My Heart Needs" and "Mary's Little Lamb" were recorded and cut in June 1963; the latter became one of the worst-selling singles by Redding.[9][11] According to Soulsville U.S.A.: The Story of Stax Records author Rob Bowman, in these two songs "Otis sings with a harsh, impassioned gospel voice", and saw similarities with the voice of Blind Boy Archie Brownlee, and further reckoned the ending of the first would have made Redding "a suberp gospel singer had he chosen to record in that idiom." "That's What My Heart Needs" became Redding's second single on Stax.[11]

The title track, recorded on September, the next year, sparked some copyright issues, as it sounded like Irma Thomas' "Ruler of My Heart".[9] After a few months, the latest recorded single, "Pain in My Heart", with the B-side "Something Is Worrying Me", peaked at number 60 on Billboard‍ '​s Hot 100 chart. Rob Bowman summarizes "Pain in My Heart" as "Otis's dynamic control is front and center as he uses his voice as a horn, swelling and decreasing in volume, swallowing syllables and worrying the word 'heart'." Later he asserted, that "It was Otis's most successful effort to date, commercially and aesthetically."[11]

The last single, "Security", was released on April 1964 and charted at number 97 on Billboard‍ '​s Hot 100 chart. According to Matthew Greenwald of Allmusic, the song is "A stinging, up-tempo groover" and "showed Otis Redding stretching his funky rock & roll roots. Aided by the usual gang of Stax musicians, it's one of his tightest early records. As noted in the essay in the Rhino Records Dreams to Remember anthology, the song could have easily succeeded as an instrumental."[12] The remaining tracks are covers of popular songs, such as Rufus Thomas's "The Dog", Richard Berry's "Louie Louie", Little Richard's "Lucille", or Ben E. King's "Stand by Me".

Despite the alleged copyright infringement, Pain in My Heart was released on Atlantic Records' subsidiary Atco Records on January 1, 1964 and peaked at number 20 on Billboard‍ '​s R&B chart and at number 85 on Billboard‍ '​s Hot 100.[13][14]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[13]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[15]

Pain in My Heart received positive critical reception. Bruce Eder of Allmusic gave the album 4 out of 5 stars, reckoning that the album "was practically a road map to Mick Jagger and any number of other would-be white soul shouters in the UK", and found elements of hard rock in "Hey Hey Baby". Furthermore, he praised the Cooke song "You Send Me", and thought it "is the least stylized of any of his renditions of Cooke's songs". However, he criticized his restraint as opposed to future recordings, and the "somewhat less than memorable" writing, except on "Security", "These Arms Of Mine" and "That's What My Heart Needs". Overall he concluded his review by saying "Redding exudes astonishing power, energy and boldness".[13]

According to the Rolling Stone review of several albums by Redding, "[t]he title track on [Pain in My Heart] set the pattern for all his ballads to come—Otis triumphed at rendering agony. Signs of the singer's virtuosity are already apparent in the almost teasing way he lingers over some lyrics and spits out others; virtually never would he sing a line the same way twice", and gave the album 4 out of 5 stars.[15]

When Redding performed the song "These Arms of Mine" during a session, featuring Jenkins on guitar and Steve Cropper on piano, producer Jim Stewart praised his performance and noted, "Everybody was fixin' to go home, but Joe Galkin insisted we give Otis a listen. There was something different about [the ballad]. He really poured his soul into it."[16][8]

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Pain in My Heart"   Naomi Neville 2:22
2. "The Dog"   Rufus Thomas 2:30
3. "Stand by Me"   Ben E. King, Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller 2:45
4. "Hey Hey Baby"   Otis Redding 2:15
5. "You Send Me"   Sam Cooke 3:10
6. "I Need Your Lovin'"   Don Gardner, Clarence Lewis, James McDougal, Bobby Robinson 2:45
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
7. "These Arms of Mine"   Redding 2:30
8. "Louie Louie"   Richard Berry 2:05
9. "Something is Worrying Me"   Redding, Phil Walden 2:25
10. "Security"   Redding 2:30
11. "That's What My Heart Needs"   Redding 2:35
12. "Lucille"   Al Collins, Richard Penniman 2:25




  1. ^ Bowman 1997, p. 56.
  2. ^ John Bozzo (October 17, 2007). "Beat went on despite segregation". News-Journal Corporation. Retrieved November 21, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Gulla 2007, pp. 400–401.
  4. ^ Guralnick 1999, p. 173.
  5. ^ Guralnick 1999, p. 159.
  6. ^ Bowman 1997, p. 40.
  7. ^ "Otis Redding". Stax Museum of American Soul Music. Retrieved September 26, 2011. 
  8. ^ a b Gulla 2007, pp. 401–408.
  9. ^ a b c Guralnick 1999, p. 175.
  10. ^ Gulla 2007, pp. 396.
  11. ^ a b c Bowman 1997, p. 46.
  12. ^ Matthew Greenwald. "Security". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved February 17, 2012. 
  13. ^ a b c Bruce Eder. "Pain in My Heart". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved February 17, 2012. 
  14. ^ Bowman 1997, p. 47.
  15. ^ a b "Otis Redding – Album Guide". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 18, 2012. 
  16. ^ Freeman 2002, p. 77.