MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Students wanting to attend the Stax Music Academy in Memphis now have help, thanks to a new scholarship in honor of a soul legend.
As one of the founding members of the Bar-Kays and one of the first Stax recording artists, Ben Cauley has been around the world making music, but Memphis has always been home.
I was asked a bunch of times to relocate and I said no," he said.
Friday, Cauley's home honored him at a reception to announce the creation of the Ben Cauley honorary scholarship - $100,000 that will pay the tuition for the children attending the Stax Music Academy.
"He's just a phenomenal, extraordinary guy, and we love him," said Tim Sampson at Stax. "I think this is long overdue."
The scholarship was established by the Memphis law firm of Glassman, Edwards, Wade and Wyatt. The money came from an unrelated class action settlement earmarked for charity.
We thought Ben Cauley had been overlooked for years in the Memphis music scene, and that he had a compelling story to tell, and we wanted to tell it," Attorney B.J. Wade said.
Part of that story involves tragedy. In 1967, Cauley was the lone survivor of a plane crash that killed four of his band mates, as well as legendary soul singer Otis Redding.
Friday, Redding's daughter was in Memphis to help celebrate what has been officially declared Ben Cauley day. But Cauley is most proud about the next generation of young musicians that will benefit from a scholarship with his name on it.