Ben Cauley

Ben Cauley

Musical Artist
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Ben Cauley

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Ben Cauley (born October 6, 1947) is an American trumpet player, vocalist, and founding member of the Stax recording group, The Bar-Kays. He is the sole survivor of the 1967 plane crash that claimed the lives of soul singer Otis Redding and four members of the Bar-Kays.

The Bar-Kays

The Bar-Kays were formed in the mid-1960s, joined the Stax studio by 1966, and were signed on to Stax's subsidiary Volt Records in the beginning of 1967. According to James Alexander, Cauley was the best dressed of the group, always known to wear a suit, no matter the occasion.

Al Jackson, the drummer with Booker T & the MGs, took a particular interest in the young members of the Bar-Kays and groomed them to become the second house band for Stax after Booker T and the MGs. As such they appeared as the backing band on numerous recordings for Stax artists such as Otis Redding, Carla Thomas, and Sam and Dave. In fact, Otis Redding took such a liking to the band that he chose them to be his touring back-up band in the summer of 1967.

Plane crash

On December 8, 1967, Otis Redding and the Bar-Kays flew in Redding's twin engine Beechcraft plane to Nashville, Tennessee for three weekend gigs and used that city as a base to commute to additional gigs. The following day, December 9, they took the Beechcraft to Cleveland where they appeared on Don Webster's 'Upbeat' TV show with Mitch Ryder......
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