From the MCRFB news archive: 1967
Redding, Band Members Killed; Bodies Pulled From Wisconsin Lake
LAKE WINONA, WIS. — Otis Redding, star Stax/Volt Records’ soul artist,was killed here on Sunday, December 10, when his plane crashed into a lake. Redding was 26. Also killed were four members of the Bar-Kays, his accompanying group; pilot Richard Frazier; and Matthew Kelley, 17, the artist’s valet.
One member of the Bar-Kays, Ben Culley, survived the crash. He was reported in fair condition in a nearby hospital. Another member of the group, James Alexander, was on a different flight. Dead are Phalon Jones, 18; Ronnie Caldwell, 19; Jimmy King, 18; and Carl Cunningham, 18, all from Memphis.
The crash occurred when the private twin-engine plane was attempting to land at at the Madison Airport after a flight from Cleveland. Redding’s body was flown to Macon, Georgia, for a funeral on Friday, December 15.
The Bar-Kays (bottom row) Phalon Jones, James Alexander (middle row) Jimmie King, Ronnie Caldwell, Ben Culley (back row) Carl Cunningham (click image for larger size).
Redding’s best-known Volt singles were “Try A Little Tenderness,” “Satisfaction,” “These Arms Of Mine,” “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long,” and “Respect.” “Respect,” which Redding wrote, recently was a top-seller for Aretha Franklin. He hit the Hot 100 chart twice this year with Carla Thomas in “Tramp” and “Knock On Wood,” both on Stax. He had five Volt albums, one on Atco, and one with Miss Thomas on Stax.
Three months ago, Britain’s Melody Maker, a fan magazine, selected Redding as the world’s top male vocalist dethroning Elvis Presley, who held the top spot since 1956. Redding had been seventh last year.
Earlier this month, Redding had accepted an invitation from Vice-President Hubert Humphrey to head a troupe of Stax/Volt artists to entertain U.S. troops in Viet Nam in the spring. Redding and the Bar-Kays were the only soul artists at the recent Monterey Pop Music Festival The Bar-Kays had one album on Volt.
In August, Redding and Miss Thomas were crowned king and queen of the “Memphis Sound” at the Chicago Daily Defender’s Billiken Day Parade. Redding was to have appeared in San Francisco on Tuesday, December 26, when Ralph J. Gleason, San Francisco Chronicle columnist, planned to produce a Redding TV special for the National Educational Television Foundation.
Redding owned the 300-acre Big O ranch outside of Macon, which recently was visited by a BBC-TV film crew. He had earned more than $600,000 from public appearances this year. He was survived by his widow, Zelma, and three children. END
(Information and news source: Billboard; December 23, 1967).
Wisconsin State Journal Tuesday, December 12, 1967 (click on image for detailed view).