On Dec. 9, 1967 Otis Redding and his touring back-up band, The Bar-Kays, flew in Redding’s twin engine Beechcraft from Nashville to Cleveland where they appeared on Don Webster’s television show, “Upbeat,” and performed at Leo’s Casino. The following day, en route to a show at the Factory Night Club in Madison, the small plane crashed in the icy waters of Lake Monona, tragically ending the lives of Redding, pilot Dick Fraser, Matthew Kelly and four members of The Bar-Kays including guitarist Jimmie King, organist Ronnie Caldwell, saxophonist Phalon Jones and drummer Carl Cunningham. Twenty-year old trumpet player Ben Cauley survived and bassist James Alexander had taken another flight.
Redding, from Dawson, GA, entered a recording studio three days before his death to recorded what would become his biggest hit, “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay,” hinting at a change of direction for the artist just before his untimely death.
Redding’s music remains beloved around the world almost 50 years after his passing. This video is from the “Upbeat” appearance.