View from Otis Redding Memorial Bench
Today's image is titled View from Otis Redding Memorial Bench and was photographed by Steve Kriegler.
Dec. 10, 2007 marks the 40th anniversary of the death of Otis Redding, the iconic soul singer who was killed along with six members of his band the Bar-Kays when their plane crashed into the waters of Lake Monona just off the shores of John Nolen Drive.
This tragedy was later marked by a memorial in Law Park, and subsequently integrated into the rooftop garden of Monona Terrace when the downtown convention center was built at this spot 10 years ago. The memorial faces the lake, complete with a bench for contemplation. The inscription reads:
This seating area is dedicated to honor the memory of Otis Redding, Jr., who lost his life in a plane crash in Lake Monona on December 10, 1967 while en route to a Madison engagement.
Known as the "King of the Soul Singers," Redding was acclaimed during his life in France and England as the world's top popular male singer. Four months after his death, he achieved his first American number one record with "Dock of the Bay."
On the morning of the flight to Madison, Redding had been warned of bad weather and was advised to postpone his trip. His loyalty to his Madison fans forced him to proceed. It was the only engagement of his career that he ever missed.
Otis Redding stands with Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin and Sam Cooke in the first rank of American rhythm and blues singers.
Kriegler shot a requiem for the musician, noting the difficulty of reaching the icy and windswept memorial during the actual anniversary in December. "You'll probably see and hear a lot more about Otis Redding in Madison in 2007," she concludes. "But if you want to pay your respects, you'll have to schedule a visit to the Otis Redding Memorial for a sunny day when snow is just a memory."
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