DARC Ethiophile Chronicles
On December 10, 1967 Otis Redding's career came to a tragic end when the twin-engine plane carrying him to a concert date in Wisconsin crashed in Lake Monoma.
Otis Ray Redding, Jr. (September 9, 1941 – December 10, 1967) was an American singer, songwriter, record producer, arranger and talent scout. He is considered one of the greatest singers in popular music and a major artist in soul and rhythm and blues. His singing style was powerfully influential among soul artists of 1960s and helped exemplify the Stax Sound.
Otis Redding 1967 - Try a little tenderness
Otis transition occurred just one day after this performance and three days after recording “The Dock of the Bay”. The plane that carried him and the Bar-Kays, also featured here as his backing band, crashed into that ice lake in Madison, Wisconsin where they were scheduled to play.
Although the weather was poor, with heavy rain and fog and despite warnings, the plane took off. Four miles from their destination at Truax Field in Madison, the pilot radioed for permission to land. Shortly thereafter, the plane crashed into Lake Monona. Bar-Kays member Ben Cauley, the accident's only survivor, was sleeping shortly before the accident. He woke just before impact to see bandmate Phalon Jones look out a window and exclaim, "Oh, no!" Cauley said the last thing he remembered before the crash was unbuckling his seat belt. He then found himself in frigid water, grasping a seat cushion to keep afloat. A non-swimmer, he was unable to rescue the others. The cause of the crash was never determined. James Brown claimed in his autobiography, The Godfather of Soul, that he had warned Redding not to fly in the plane
Aretha Franklin stated, "I heard it on the TV. My sister Caroline and I stopped everything and stayed glued to the TV and radio. It was a tragedy. Shocking." Other victims were pilot Richard Fraser, drummer Matthew Kelly, lead guitarist of the Bar-Kays Jimmy King, tenor saxophonist Phalon Jones, organist Ronnie Caldwell and drummer Carl Cunningham.
Redding's body was recovered the next day when the lake bed was searched. The family postponed the funeral from December 15 to December 18 so that more could attend. The service took place at the City Auditorium in Macon. More than 4,500 people came to the funeral, overflowing the 3,000-seat hall, although many did not know who he was. Johnny Jenkins and Isaac Hayes did not come, fearing their reaction would be worse than Zelma Redding's. Redding was entombed at his ranch in Round Oak, about 20 miles (32 km) north of Macon. Jerry Wexler delivered the eulogy. Redding died just three days after recording Dock of the Bay. Zelma and three children, Otis III, Dexter and Karla, survived him. Otis, Dexter and cousin Mark Lockett later founded the Reddings, a band managed by Zelma. She also maintained or worked at the janitorial service Maids Over Macon, several nightclubs and booking agencies.
On November 8, 1997, a memorial plaque was placed on the lakeside deck of the Madison convention center, Monona Terrace.