Redding died December 10, 1967, when a plane carrying him and the Bar-Kays crashed into Lake Monona, near Madison, Wisconsin. Only Ben Cauley (trumpet player for the Bar-Kays) survived the crash - Redding's body was found the day after the crash, still strapped into his plane seat.
He got his break when, as chauffeur and gofer for Johnny Jenkins and the Pinetoppers, he asked the producer and engineer if he could record a song when the Pinetoppers were finished. The result was his first R&B hit, "These Arms of Mine."
He recorded with Stax Records, a Soul label in Memphis that had a string of hits in the late '60s. The house band, known as Booker T. and The MGs, played the instruments on his songs. Other famous Stax artists include Isaac Hayes, Albert King and Wilson Picket.
He had a ranch called "The Big O Ranch," complete with a herd of cattle.
Redding was the first Soul artist with a large white audience.