In April 1967, soon after being signed to Stax Records, Tennessee-based instrumental funk band the Bar-Kays released their first single - Soul Finger. The song peaked at number 3 on the Billboard R&B Singles chart, and the B-side Knuckelhead hit number 23. Within a few months the band was back in the studio recording nine more tracks that, along with their first 2 songs, would complete their debut album. The first song on the album gave the album it's name - Soul Finger. During the time their debut single and album were released, the band had just begun working as Otis Redding's backup band. On December, 10th 1967, while on tour with Otis Redding, four of the band members died with Redding in a tragic plane crash. The only survivor of the crash was trumpeter Ben Cauley. The only other surviving band member was bassist James Alexander, who had flown separately because the was no more room on Redding's plane. Soon, the band was re-formed by Cauley and Alexander, and they continued working as a backup band for Stax Records, recording on dozens of classic Stax releases. Soon after Cauley left the band in 1971 the Bar-Kays changed direction musically, and they went on to build a solid reputation as a hit-making funk band. In 1974, when Alexander had a son, he named him Phalon - named after Phalon Jones , the group's saxophonist who died in the 1967 plane crash. Today, his son Phalon is better known as rapper and producer Jazze Pha.
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