Updated:
Original:
Year
1967
Month Day
December 10

Soul legend Otis Redding dies in a plane crash near Madison, Wisconsin

When he left his final recording session in Memphis, Otis Redding intended to return soon to the song he’d been working on—he still had to replace a whistled verse thrown in as a placeholder with additional lyrics that he’d yet to write. In the meantime, however, there was a television appearance to make in Cleveland, followed by a concert in Madison, Wisconsin. On its final approach to Madison on this day in 1967, however, the private plane carrying soul-music legend Otis Redding would crash into the frigid waters of a small lake three miles short of the runway, killing seven of the eight men aboard, including Redding. “Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay” would be released in its “unfinished” form several weeks later, with Redding’s whistled verse a seemingly indispensable part of the now-classic record. It would soon become history’s first posthumous #1 hit and the biggest pop hit of Redding’s career.

In the six months leading up to his death, Otis Redding had gone from one great success to another. In June, Aretha Franklin had taken a cover version of his song “Respect” all the way to #1 on the pop charts. Later that same month, the adulation of the young audience of rock fans at the Monterey International Pop Festival had transformed him into an icon of the blossoming counterculture thanks to his blistering, now-legendary live performance there. But if Otis Redding was only beginning to gain momentum within the largely white mainstream in 1967, he was already a giant in the world of soul music.

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us!

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Treaty of Paris ends Spanish-American War

In France, the Treaty of Paris is signed, formally ending the Spanish-American War and granting the United States its first overseas empire. The Spanish-American War had its origins in the rebellion against Spanish rule that began in Cuba in 1895. The repressive measures that ...read more

Sex scandal involving Arkansas politician

Representative Wilbur D. Mills, a Democrat from Arkansas, resigns as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee in the aftermath of the first truly public sex scandal in American politics. On October 7, 1974, at 2 a.m., Mills was stopped by Washington park police while driving at ...read more

Bunche receives Nobel Peace Prize

For his peace mediation during the first Arab-Israeli war, American diplomat Ralph Joseph Bunche receives the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway. Bunche was the first African American to win the prestigious award. Born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1904, he entered the field of U.S. ...read more

Wilson awarded Nobel Peace Prize

On this day in 1920, the Nobel Prize for Peace is awarded to U.S. President Woodrow Wilson for his work in ending the First World War and creating the League of Nations. Although Wilson could not attend the award ceremony in Oslo, Norway, the U.S. Ambassador to Norway, Albert ...read more

Wyoming grants women the vote

Motivated more by interest in free publicity than a commitment to gender equality, Wyoming territorial legislators pass a bill that is signed into law granting women the right to vote. Western states led the nation in approving women’s suffrage, but some of them had rather ...read more

Frank Sinatra Jr. endures a frightening ordeal

Frank Sinatra Jr., who was kidnapped in Lake Tahoe, California, on December 8, is allowed to talk to his father briefly. The 19-year-old man, who was trying to follow in his father’s footsteps by pursuing a singing career, was abducted at gunpoint from his hotel room at Harrah’s ...read more

Sherman arrives in front of Savannah

On this day in 1864, Union General William T. Sherman completes his March to the Sea when he arrives in front of Savannah, Georgia. Since mid-November of that year, Sherman’s army had been sweeping from Atlanta across the state to the south and east towards Savannah, one of the ...read more

Ford builds its 1 millionth car

On December 10, 1915, the 1 millionth Ford car rolls off the assembly line at the River Rouge plant in Detroit. At first, Henry Ford had built his cars like every other automaker did: one at a time. But his factories’ efficiency and output steadily increased, and after he ...read more

Red Cross is awarded Nobel Peace Prize

After three years of war, during which there had been no Nobel Peace Prize awarded, the Norwegian Nobel Committee awards the 1917 prize to the International Committee of the Red Cross. From the outbreak of World War I, the Nobel Committee had decided not to award its annual peace ...read more