Remembering Otis Redding 50 Years After The Airplane Crash That Took His Life

Music Contributor
12.08.17 6 Comments

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Lake Monona is a wide, flat expanse of open water. Ringed by lush trees, quaint homes, and the Wisconsin state capitol building, at the moment you’re standing on its shores, listening to the gentle waves lap against rock and sod, it can feel like the most idyllic place on the planet. That ethereal tranquility was shattered on December 10, 1967 on a cold and foggy afternoon when a Beechcraft 18 cracked the lake’s gentle surface and quickly submerged into its murky depths. Seven of the eight passengers aboard the plane were killed, including one of the greatest soul singers the world has ever known.

Otis Redding was only 26 years old when his life was cut tragically short. Given that truncated span however, he used his God-given talents to craft a legacy that would span generations. As a singer, he could alternate from tender vulnerability to raging, volcanic fury on a dime, expressing through his voice nearly every shade of the human condition. As a showman, there was hardly anyone this side of James Brown capable of matching his flashy, eye-popping histrionics. And as a songwriter, his compositions, though seemingly simple at first glance, contained multitudes that continue to reverberate through car speakers and hi-fi units around the globe.

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