Jessie, as Day, lead the John Belushi and the others of the Delta Tau Chi fraternity based on Dartmouth's Alpha Delta Phi frat in a rousing version of the Isley Brothers' "Shout" and the original "Shama Lama Ding Dong."
The role changed his life. Ever since then, Jessie and his band have entertained audiences all over the world and show no signs of slowing down.
The group will be the entertainment at the second annual Silver Queen Ball, a fundraiser for the Park City Museum, on Thursday, Dec. 27, at the Montage Deer Valley.
Tickets are on sale now for $300 per person and are available by visiting www.parkcityhistory.org/events/silver-queen-ball/ . The event will also feature dinner, dancing and an auction.
"We're excited to announce that Otis Day and the Knights will be performing at the ball," said Park City Museum Executive Director Sandra Morrison. "We wanted to announce it early, so people could buy tickets."
During an interview with The Park Record, Jessie confessed that he almost didn't take the role.
"I went to an interview at Chaka Khan's house with the head of casting and John Landis in the Hollywood Hills," Jessie said. "It was a Saturday and they pitched the role to me.
"I initially said, 'No, I don't want to do that,' but Right before I walked out, I heard a voice in my head that said, 'Take it,'" Jessie said. "I turned around and said, 'OK, I want it.'"
Although the lead vocals were dubbed by Lloyd Williams, since the film's release, Jessie did have many musical influences.
His brother, Obediah Donnell Jessie, was known to the world as Young Jessie in the doo wop group The Flairs and later joined The Coasters.
"My brother was an entertainer and had all these other musicians coming in and out of my mom and dad's house," DeWayne Jessie said. "Through that, I was already groomed for becoming some sort of entertainer."
In addition to his brother, Jessie loved to listen to Jerry Butler, Billy Eckstine and Diana Ross.
"Yes, Diana Ross I'm one of those people," Jessie said with a laugh. "If she came up to me and just touched the top of my head, I'd probably faint."
Jessie loved music, but his first career choice was acting.
"I wanted to do that so bad, and, now as you can see, they eventually intertwined," he said.
Although Jessie debuted Otis Day nearly 35 years ago, the character has enjoyed a cult following.
Back in 2008, the Biography Channel did a special on Jessie, and he is currently working on a documentary "Otis Day: Band on the Run" that is scheduled to be released late this year or early next year.
"I'm still out there doing what I'm doing with our music," he said. "Eventually, I would love to do more acting. But I am looking forward to coming to Park City. I hope we'll be able to get the party going."
Tickets for the second annual Silver Queen Ball, a fundraiser for the Park City Museum that will be held at the Montage Deer Valley on Thursday, Dec. 27, are on sale now for $300 per person at www.parkcityhistory.org/events/silver-queen-ball/ . Otis Day & the Knights will provide the event's live music.