Jimmie King

Birth Name:
Jimmie King Jr.
Birth Date:
June 8, 1949
Birth Place:
Memphis, Tennessee
Death Date:
December 10, 1967
Place of Death:
Monona Lake, Wisconsin
Cause of Death:
Plane crash
Cemetery Name:
New Park Cemetery
Claim to Fame:
As a member of the Bar-Kays, Jimmy King played guitar for Otis Redding and died in the plane crash that took the life of Otis Redding, Phalon Jones, Carl Cunningham, Ronnie Caldwell and valet Matthew Kelly. Only Ben Cauley survived the crash.

And the rest of the story …

It was 3:28 p.m. Dec. 10, 1967, when 26-year-old Redding’s nearly new Beechcraft Model 18 went down in the cold waters of Lake Monona three miles from the runway at Truax Field in Madison, Wis. It was foggy, rainy and cold, and there was talk of flights being grounded. Redding’s 26-year-old pilot Dick Fraser had flown just 118 hours in twin-engine aircraft. The National Transportation Safety Board never reached a firm decision about the cause of the crash, attributing it to multiple factors, which is a polite way of saying that someone displayed bad judgment.

The impact with the water split the plane open like a tube of biscuit dough, filling the fuselage with water. Ben Cauley, the Bar-Kays’ 20-year-old trumpet player and singer, was the only one of eight people on board to survive the crash. He was sitting directly behind Redding, back to back with the singer, who was buckled into the co-pilot seat.

There wasn’t room on the plane for James Alexander and Bar-Kays’ vocalist Carl Sims; they’d flown commercial from the band’s prior gig in Cleveland to Milwaukee. Alexander ended up identifying the bodies.

Contrary to urban legend, the Beech 18 Redding bought was not previously owned by James Brown.

Redding and the Bar-Kays were scheduled to play two shows at a Madison club called the Factory that night, the first at 6:30 and a later one at 9. The opening act was a local band called the Grim Reapers, which featured future Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Neilsen.


Cemetery Information:

Final Resting Place:

New Park Cemetery

4536 Horn Lake Road

Memphis, Tennessee, 38119


North America

Grave Location:


Grave Location Description

From the entrance of the cemetery go straight down the road and stop six rows before the ditch. Look for the mid-sized “King” and “Cunningham” monuments on your left. Phalon Jones, whose body was found several days after the crash, is also buried in New Park Cemetery (on Silver Maple Avenue 200 feet north of Orangegrove Drive) while Ronnie Caldwell is buried in Memorial Park Cemetery in Memphis.

Grave Location GPS

35.0277667, -90.0686833



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Carl Lee Cunningham

popular name: Carl Lee Cunningham

date_of_death: December 10, 1967

age: 19

cause_of_death: Plane crash

claim_to_fame: Music

best_know_for: As a member of the Bar-Kays, Carl played drums for Otis Redding and died in the plane crash that took the life of Otis Redding, Phalon Jones, Carl Cunningham, Ronnie Caldwell, guitarist Jimmy King and valet Matthew Kelly. Only Ben Cauley survived the crash.

Ritchie Valens

popular name: Ritchie Valens

date_of_death: February 3, 1959

age: 17

cause_of_death: Gross trauma to brain due to crash of airplane, multiple fractures, left forearm and both legs

claim_to_fame: Music

best_know_for: Richie Valens was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist and a true rock and roll pioneer who died at the young age of 17 in the infamous Buddy Holly plane crash. Ritchie played is final concert at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa with Buddy Holly and J.P. "the Big Bopper" Richardson. Holly, Valens and Richardson left The Surf immediately after the show, going to the nearby Mason City airport and chartering a small plane with pilot Roger Peterson to take them to Fargo, North Dakota to prepare for their next show at the Moorhead Armory in Moorhead, Minnesota. The plane took off at 12:55 AM Central Time on Tuesday February 3, 1959. Shortly after takeoff, the plane crashed, killing everyone aboard.


popular name: Aaliyah

date_of_death: August 25, 2001

age: 22

cause_of_death: Blunt force trauma (airplane crash)

claim_to_fame: Music

best_know_for: In her heyday, it seemed like the Grammy-nominated singer was destined for a long career, having made the leap from music to modeling and acting. But sadly that career ended suddenly when she died in a tragically, yet totally preventable, plane crash in the Bahamas in 2001.

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