Hard To Handle

By: sonofabeach96

Dec 10 2015

Category: Uncategorized


On this date, in 1967, Otis Redding was killed in a plane crash, in Lake Monona, WI.  Redding was born in Macon, Ga and, to support his family, dropped out of school at 15, working for a time in the backer-band for Little Richard in the late ’50’s.  He was “really” discovered during an unscheduled appearance on another recording at Stax, then was offered his first contract.  His first single, “These Arms of Mine”, was released in 1962.  His singing style became synonymous with the “Stax sound”.  Speaking of Stax Records, the death of Redding was a hard hit to the company.  It was already on the verge of bankruptcy and soon discovered that Redding’s entire song catalog was actually owned by Atlantic Records.

Anyway, the itinerary for the flight took precedence over weather delays.  Redding and his bandmates, the Bar-Kays, had just performed on Upbeat, a show produced in Cleveland, and had played 3 gigs at a club called Leo’s Casino.  The date was December 9, 1967.  They were scheduled to fly to Madison, WI to play a gig the next night, December 10, at The Factory club near the University of Wisconsin.  The weather was not ideal, and it was recommended that the flight be delayed.  In fact, in James Brown’s biography, Brown claims he pleaded with Redding to not fly that night.  They took off as scheduled, ignoring the potential risks.  Roughly 4 miles from their landing site in Wisconsin, the pilot radioed for permission to land.  Within minutes of that transmission, the plane was in Lake Monona.  There was only one survivor, Ben Cauley, a member of the Bar-Kays.  He couldn’t swim and clung to a seat cushion, unable to assist the others.  Those who lost their life that night were: Otis Redding, pilot Richard Fraser, drummer Matthew Kelly, lead guitarist Jimmy King, tenor saxophonist Phalon Jones, organist Ronnie Caldwell, and drummer Carl Cunningham.   The cause of the crash was never determined.

Redding was beloved and more than 4500 people attended his funeral services.  Sadly, his only no. 1 hit was “(Sitting On) The Dock of the Bay”, released 3 days after his untimely death.  He wrote the song after playing the 1967 Monterrey Pop Festival, his final large-scale show.  Released in January of 1968, it was the first song released posthumously to reach no. 1.  Unfortunately, all of his accolades also were given posthumously:  inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 1988, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989, the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1994, and was awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1999.  The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame named 3 of his songs among its “The Top 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll”: “Shake”, “(Sitting On) The Dock of the Bay”, and “Try A Little Tenderness”.  Rolling Stone ranked him no. 21 on its “100 Greatest Artists of All Time” list and no. 8 on its “100 Greatest Singers of All Time” list.  Five of his albums were listed on Rolling Stones’ “500 Greatest Albums of All Time” list.

So, in honor of one of the best singers of all-time, and, of course, yet another shooting star in the world of music, my songs of the day are:

“Try A Little Tenderness”

“Knock On Wood”

“A Change Is Gonna Come”

“(Sitting On) The Dock of the Bay”

“You Send Me”


9 comments on “Hard To Handle”

  1. His great songs will live forever. I never get tired of them.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Try A Little Tenderness is one of my faves! I wonder how much of an influence he would have had today if he had survived?

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Wow, I like all those songs! Who knew I was an Otis Redding fan lol! Cool 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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