December 10, 2017

"Fifty years ago, on December 10, 1967, a private plane carrying Otis Redding and the members of his touring band stalled on its final approach to the municipal airport in Madison, Wisconsin..."

"... and crashed into the waters of Lake Monona, killing all but one of the eight people onboard.... When he came up, in 1962, he was a completely unschooled performer who stood stock still onstage as he sang the pining, courtly ballads that brought him his first success. Over time, however, as his repertoire broadened to include driving, up-tempo songs, Redding found a way to use his imposing size and presence as a foil for his heartfelt emotionality, eschewing the conventions of graceful stagecraft in favor of a raw physicality that earned him comparisons to athletes like the football star Jim Brown. Marching in place to keep pace with the beat, pumping his fists in the air, striding across stages with a long-legged gait that parodied his 'down home' origins, Redding’s confident yet unaffected eroticism epitomized the African-American ideal of a 'natural man.'... And then he was no more. Redding’s sudden death thrust him into the ranks of a mythic group of musical performers that included Bix Beiderbecke, Robert Johnson, Hank Williams, Charlie Parker, Buddy Holly, Patsy Cline, and Redding’s own favorite, Sam Cooke––artists whose careers ended not only before their time but in their absolute prime, when there was every reason to expect that their finest work was yet to come...." — Jonathan Gould (The New Yorker).

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33 comments:

rcocean said...

"Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay" released AFTER he'd been killed in a plane crash.

Sad.

Ipso Fatso said...


Otis,you were one of a kind. RIP.

These Arms Of Mine

Original Mike said...

Sittin' at the bottom of the bay...

Original Mike said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Original Mike said...

(hey, it's been 50 years)

eddie willers said...

Back then, with no youtube, etc. a regional star could remain a regional star.

Otis Redding was HUGE in Atlanta and I was kinda shocked to find out the rest of the country didn't know him until Monterey and (Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay.

They missed a good'un.

Respect

donald said...

There’s a guy, I’m forgettimg his name right this second that played with Otis. And James Brown. And Percy Sledge that plays every Monday night at the Best Western in Macon Ga. I try to get down there a couple of times a year. He says Otis was the best guy he ever knew and Percy is the greatest singer ever period.

mockturtle said...

Always liked Otis and was saddened by his untimely death.

Sweet dreams and flying machines in pieces on the ground..James Taylor

Tank said...

Bought the Monterey album for the "other" side but discovered this Otis guy was pretty good.

Yes, quite.

BamaBadgOR said...


I remember hearing the news while living in Gilman House in Kronshage at UW Madison.

The memorable whistling verse in "(Sittin' on) The Dock of the Bay" released after Redding's death was an unfinished verse intended to serve only as a placeholder.


bgates said...

At age 18 [in 1959], Redding met 15-year-old Zelma Atwood at "The Teenage Party." She gave birth to their son Dexter in the summer of 1960 and married Redding in August 1961.

Deplorable.

Though something about that time frame is familiar....

At the age of 23, Obama Sr. had come to Hawaii to pursue his education, leaving behind a pregnant wife and infant son in his home town....Dunham and Obama Sr. were married on the Hawaiian island of Maui on February 2, 1961, despite parental opposition from both families. Dunham was three months pregnant. Obama Sr. eventually informed Dunham about his first marriage in Kenya but claimed he was divorced. Years later, she would discover this was false. Obama Sr.'s first wife, Kezia, later said she had granted her consent for him to marry a second wife, in keeping with Luo customs.

On August 4, 1961, at the age of 18, Dunham gave birth to her first child, Barack Obama II.


Well, that can't be deplorable. Right?

wild chicken said...

When you quote some 60s-79s pop lyrics, you should leave off the name and let us boomers recall on our own. Much more effective that way.

The words are evocative but not exactly Milton, you know.

mockturtle said...

When you quote some 60s-79s pop lyrics, you should leave off the name and let us boomers recall on our own. Much more effective that way.

Attribution, w.c. Attribution.

rhhardin said...

I wonder if the guy actually means stalled (airflow separation owing to high angle of attack) or if it's a press stalled (engine quit).

The odds are it's a flow separation and the writer thinks it means engine quit.

james james said...

There is an older guy at the bar -- yeah, yeah, there are more than one -- who you can tell was good-looking in the day, and he still walks with an easy cool you can't practice. Wise eyes that are somewhat sad. He was a musician, of course. Bass player back in the days of R&B that played with, well, an easy cool.

His fathered managed a club in Seattle in the Fifties and Sixties, booked the music acts. A lot of the acts were the black blues musicians who toured relentlessly at the time, driving themselves from club to club across the country and back. Seattle would probably like to think they welcomed these black musicians back then, but -- sorry, Seattle -- the Coon Chicken Inn only closed in 1949. There was certainly a white audience for these players, but often the players would stay the night at the club manager's home: cheaper, simpler, less potential problems that way.

The easy cool bass player was a young teen at the time, learning to play, and deeply in love with the music: having these players at his home were experiences that are still close in his heart. He has a lot of stories from this era -- he looks you in the eye, wise and somewhat sad, when he tells them -- and I certainly don't mind when he tells one that he has already told me before: it is a wonderful lost world to peek into, and he knows how to tell a story.

There was a blues musician that came through the club frequently, maybe two or three times a year. He would stay with the family, eat dinner, tell stories of the road. The easy cool bass player would restring his guitars and tune them for him; in exchange the musician would show him a few licks, tell him more stories. The guy did not like Chuck Berry: he said Johnnie Johnson wrote the songs straight up.

There are a lot of people at the bar who once lived in a different Seattle. Occasionally the songs they remember get played on the jukebox.

- james james

Howard said...

The cause was undetermined, based on the eye witness account below, the odds are CFIW. The lone survivor had been asleep, via wiki:
It was on December 10, on their commute to Madison, Wisconsin, that the men would meet their fate. At 3:28 in the afternoon, the plane carrying Otis Redding, his partner, and the majority of the Bar-Kays crashed into the icy waters of the Squaw Bay area of Lake Monona, on the outskirts of Madison. Bar-Kays bassist James Alexander had taken a different flight as there was not enough room left on Redding's plane.[2][3] Cauley, who was sitting directly behind Otis Redding in the co-pilot's seat, had fallen asleep on the flight clutching his seat cushion. He awoke when he realized he could not breathe. He said that he then saw band mate Phalon Jones look out of a window and say "Oh, no!"[3]

Cauley then unbuckled his safety belt which ultimately allowed him to separate himself from the wreckage. Other victims, including Redding, were found still attached to their seats.[4] As the impact tore a wing off the small Beechcraft, the fuselage was torn open and Cauley was able to bob to the surface as he clutched his seat cushion.

While trying to swim to his band mates who weren't able to free themselves from the fuselage, Cauley witnessed their cries for help before they were pulled under the frigid water. A nearby resident of Lake Monona heard the crash and called the authorities who responded quickly with a police boat. Approximately 20 minutes after the crash, Cauley was pulled into the police boat, suffering from hypothermia and shock. According to Jet magazine, which interviewed Cauley and the authorities who assisted in the rescue attempt, the rescue divers could not be in the water for more than 15 minutes at a time due to the freezing temperature of the water. Madison Police Inspector John Harrington was quoted as saying that a person without insulated SCUBA gear "wouldn't live longer than 20 or so minutes" in the icy water. When asked why he survived, Cauley told Jet, "I guess God was with me." Cauley claimed to suffer from nightmares about the accident until his death.

madAsHell said...

Obama Sr. eventually informed Dunham about his first marriage in Kenya but claimed he was divorced.

Obama Sr. is not the father of Obama Jr. So, it's not deplorable?

dreams said...

It happened on my birthday. And I can remember where I was at when I heard that Otis Redding had been killed and the same for Sam Cooke too.

Michael said...

An acquaintance, Ronnie Caldwell, was on that plane.

Mac McConnell said...

"a raw physicality that earned him comparisons to athletes like the football star Jim Brown. Marching in place to keep pace with the beat, pumping his fists in the air, striding across stages with a long-legged gait that parodied his 'down home' origins, Redding’s confident yet unaffected eroticism epitomized the African-American ideal of a 'natural man.'"

Stereo type much, would this be what Hillary Clinton was referring to by "predator" or Bull Connor call a "buck".

exiledonmainstreet said...

I knew Redding had died in a plane crash. I had no idea it had happened here in Wisconsin.

Unknown said...

It's interesting to speculate. Redding was certainly extremely talented, but so many of his contemporaries failed to make the transition out of 60s soul to longer term stardom. Consider Wilson Pickett, Sam & Dave, and Solomon Burke for instance. Somehow, Marvin Gaye did make the transition, and then *still* ended up gone way too soon.

Down Valley Scum said...

Sad, but not the day the music died.

virgil xenophon said...

Caught his act in a Baton Rouge nightclub/bar in spring of '65 during my jr yr at LSU. Tell you what a performer he was; the sound system went out and he sang the next three songs at the top of his voice unaided then, when sound system was fixed,resang the same three and then continued with the rest of the set--not many performers will do that..

walter said...

Dock of the bay is my first memory of a record played at home...by Mom.
Repeatedly..by my request...Berwyn, Il.

Revisiting much later, a compilation had an amusing duet where a woman says "You're Country!"..and he says "That's good!"

Saint Croix said...

Try a Little Tenderness

The Happy Song

Mr. Pitiful

I love that guy. Rest in peace, brother.

Mike Sylwester said...

Otis Redding's song "Love Man" in featured in the movie Dirty Dancing.

My blog about the movie includes an article about Redding and the song.

http://dirty-dancing-analysis.blogspot.com/2017/06/the-song-love-man-by-otis-redding.html

yasi said...

http://www.techut.tk/2017/12/how-to-keep-your-bank-account_10.html?m=1

Etienne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ann Althouse said...

"Caught his act in a Baton Rouge nightclub/bar in spring of '65 during my jr yr at LSU. Tell you what a performer he was; the sound system went out and he sang the next three songs at the top of his voice unaided then, when sound system was fixed,resang the same three and then continued with the rest of the set--not many performers will do that.."

Maybe he was terrified of being accused of not fulfilling his contract and getting stiffed.

urbane legend said...

Bar-Kays bassist James Alexander had taken a different flight as there was not enough room left on Redding's plane.[2][3]

That's interesting. Buddy Holly's bass player, Waylon Jennings, wasn't on that fatal flight because he had given up his seat to the Big Bopper.

http://ultimateclassicrock.com/buddy-holly-richie-valens-big-bopper-killed-in-plane-crash/

dustbunny said...

I used to know a guy named Andy Boehm who lived on Lake Monona in the ''70's and he told me about Otis crashing there

Larry J said...

rhhardin said...

I wonder if the guy actually means stalled (airflow separation owing to high angle of attack) or if it's a press stalled (engine quit).

The odds are it's a flow separation and the writer thinks it means engine quit.


The plane was a Beech Model 18, AKA the Twin Beech. The plane is very capable of flying with one engine failed if the pilot is skilled. The weather was bad in Wisconsin in December, so perhaps there's the possibility of icing. Ice does two bad things to planes. First, it interferes with airflow over the wings and propellers, reducing lift and thrust. Second, it adds weight. The disrupted airflow often results in a change in the wing's lift characteristics which combined with the added weight increases the stall speed. Icing is just speculation on my part. I have not found the weather conditions at the time of the accident. Being night in bad weather, it could've just as easily been spatial disorientation. That can strike even experienced instrument pilots and is a leading cause of general aviation accidents, including the one on "the night the music died".