You are watching: Famous musicians who died in plane crashes
Although music is forever, tragedy repeatedly reminds us that the world behind the songs room all also mortal. From an illness and drug abuse come suicide, murder, and also accidents, stars fulfill their fates like all of us. Nevertheless, the untimely happen of a young, talented musician never stops working to inspire sadness and shock.
Air travel has actually been particularly unkind to the human being of music. Regardless of being a proven and comparatively safe mode of transportation, a cursory check of the variety of famous musicians eliminated in plane crashes would certainly seem to show that flying presents a special danger to the profession. However, the presumption most likely has an ext to execute with fame and press coverage 보다 statistics.
Still, a star"s fatality in a crash gift an irresistible, imagination-catching metaphor. What could be an ext poignant than an artist"s figurative climb to the stars finished by a literal autumn to Earth? These room the stories of several of music"s biggest talents and the heartbreaking airplane crashes that finished their lives.
During the darkest work of human being War II, Americans might rely on the music of glenn Miller and his orchestra come lift your spirits. Rising to fame as the king the swing in the so late 1930s, miller topped the charts with such classics as "In the Mood" and "Pennsylvania 6-5000," follow to Biography. Through the early 1940s, the glenn Miller Orchestra was the number one dance band in the united States.
As WWII raged, Miller started to lose band members come the draft. According to George T. Simon, a former Glenn müller Orchestra drummer and author the Glenn Miller and his Orchestra, the patriotic band leader, then in his late 30s and ineligible because that the draft, joined the war initiative on his very own terms. Appealing directly to Brig. Gen. Charles Young, Miller gone into the military to modernize its strategy to army music. Together leader of the U.S. Military Air force Band, he likewise found himself making use of music as part of a counter propaganda radio program.
On Dec. 15, 1944, Miller, then stationed in England, boarded a single engine UC-64. En route to Paris, which had been liberated by Allied pressures in August, fearbut was scheduled to do arrangements for moving his band to the French capital. Miller"s airplane never arrived. Although wreckage and also bodies have never to be recovered (sparking a variety of conspiracy theories varying from mystery missions to an accident entailing Allied bombers), it"s likely that Miller"s plane went down in icy conditions over the English Channel, as per Colorado publicly Radio.
Born in the foothills the the great Smoky mountains in 1898, grace Moore do an unlikely trip from east Tennessee to new York"s urban Opera residence to become one of the many beloved music stars that the 1930s and also 40s.
Raised in a strictly Baptist household, the starry-eyed singer yearned to leaving her insular ar for the footlights of new York. In ~ 18, she was compelled to confess come the congregation of her church to dancing at a party, an activity considered immoral and also sinful. Humiliated however determined, she do a plan to escape her restrictive upbringing.
Moore"s quest of musical education and learning eventually led she to France wherein she studied opera. In 1928, she made her debut in ~ the city Opera House. Dubbed the Tennessee Nightingale by the press, Moore came to be a worldwide musical phenomenon. Soon, the glamorous singer ended up being a star of the silver screen.
As recounted through Susan Sawyer, author of More 보다 Petticoats, when on a sold-out, 1947 tour of Europe, Moore boarded a twin-engine plane in Copenhagen, Denmark, bound because that Stockholm, Sweden. The only American ~ above board, Moore, 48, found herself in the company of Prince Gustav Adolph, heir come Sweden"s throne. The aircraft had barely lifted indigenous the ground once it shuddered and also nosedived right into the ground killing all 22 of the plane"s occupants. An examination revealed the a clamp holding the plane in position on the runway had not been removed prior to take off resulting in the crash.
February 3, 1959, is maybe the single most tragic work in absent "n" roll history. Memorialized as the day the music died, that snowy, winter morning point out the day when superstar musician girlfriend Holly, 17 year-old up and also comer Ritchie Valens, and also J.P. "The large Bopper" Richardson were killed when the little plane they were traveling in crashed in icy weather quickly after takeoff.
Frustrated through a mechanically unsound and also freezing bus, Holly chartered a plane to take it him and band members Tommy Allsup and Waylon Jennings from their Winter dance Party present at clean Lake, Iowa"s, Surf Ballroom come the tour"s next day in Moorehead, Minn.
Valens, parenting a cold, winner Allsup"s chair in a familiar coin toss. Jennings wound up offering his chair to Richardson. The large Bopper to be sick v the flu and couldn"t handle another ride top top the frigid bus. When Holly uncovered out the Jennings had provided up his seat, the jibed, "I hope her old bus freezes up again." Prophetically, Jennings quipped, "Well, i hope her ol" plane crashes." back the statement was made in jest, Jennings regret his words for the remainder of his life.
The 3 musicians were ejected indigenous the plane when the crashed in a barren cornfield just exterior of Mason City, Iowa. A polite Aeronautics plank investigation identified that the plane"s pilot, roger Petersen, was not qualified to paris by instrumentation in impending weather and also likely misread the plane"s mindset gyroscope leading to the crash.
Few names in nation music history are as iconic as Patsy Cline. Remembered because that such an effective and haunting hits together "Crazy," "Walking after ~ Midnight," and also "I autumn to Pieces," Cline was among the first country stars to cross end to a popular music music audience.
In 1961, simply as she career to be going right into overdrive, she was injured in a near-fatal car accident. Together recounted in Finding she Voice: ladies in country Music, 1800-2000, Cline came back, scarred yet stronger. Yet, her boisterous personality to be tinged v a troubling fatalism. Cline ominously offered her scrapbook to her friend, up-and-coming country singer Dottie West. ". . . The ain"t gonna do me no good," she said West. "I"ll never live to watch thirty."
On march 5, 1963, at around 6:07 p.m., writes writer Rich Everitt, Cline and fellow nation music stars Hawkshaw Hawkins and also Cowboy Copas boarded a solitary engine Piper Comanche piloted by Cline"s manager Randy Hughes. Departing indigenous a brief stop in ~ Dyersburg Municipal airplane in Dyersburg, Tenn., after flying from a advantage performance in Kansas City, Hughes was anxious to obtain Cline, Copas, and also Hawkins back to Nashville regardless of warnings around the weather. Minutes after take-off, Hughes, an inexperienced pilot without instrument training, inadvertently placed the plane into a fatal spiral end a forested area near Camden, Tenn. Every on plank were killed instantly.
Just over a year ~ Patsy Cline"s death, nation music lost yet an additional voice in a tragic aircraft crash.
According come AllMusic, Texas-born Jim Reeves to be a pioneer the the innovative "Nashville sound," which moved country music far from that rustic roots to a an ext polished, cosmopolitan sound. He started his career in the 1950s with such hits together "Mexican Joe" and also "Bimbo." However, by the near of the decade, he had efficiently reinvented himself as a smooth, country balladeer. Like Cline, Reeves likewise found success in renowned music. His struggle singles "Four Walls," "He"ll have to Go," and also "Welcome to mine World" crossed genre lines many thanks to Reeves" stirring, intimate delivery.
On July 31, 1964, Reeves, at the controls that his single-engine Beechcraft model B-33 Debonair, was returning native Arkansas v his manager and piano player Dean Manuel. Departing in clean weather, Reeves and Manuel expected a smooth flight earlier to Nashville. Follow to rich Everitt, writer of Falling Stars: air Crashes that Filled Rock and Roll Heaven, the country crooner reported he was flying into heavy rain as he make his approach to the airport. At 4:48 p.m., Reeves" plane disappeared native radar.
For two days, a search team the 400 people, 12 planes, and also two helicopters combed the area near Nashville"s Berry Airport. On Aug. 2, 1964, the twisted wreckage and the bodies of Reeves and Manuel were found in the special woods northeast the the Nashville suburb that Brentwood.
One that the most influential singers that the 1960s, Otis Redding crossed racial obstacles to uncover success in both soul and also pop music. Beloved because that his an effective voice, Redding"s music dripped with emotion. Influenced by Sam Cooke and tiny Richard, Georgia aboriginal Redding began singing in church as a child, but his love that gospel music shortly gave means to an obsession v blues and also rock "n" roll.
By the mid-1960s, Redding had released two strong-selling albums of high-energy soul music. His third, Otis Blue, was a magnum opus taped in a single 24-hour session. Composed largely of soulful cover songs, the album additionally featured "Respect," which would end up being Aretha Franklin"s signature song when she re-recorded that in 1967, as per Biography.
Already a superstar the soul and R&B, Redding wanted to widen his appeal. His 1967 performance at the Monterey pop Festival to be a career-defining moment. At critical bringing his talents before an enthusiastic, white audience, Redding to be poised to come to be a music icon.
However, just before Redding released the song that would become his greatest hit, the singer and also four members the the R&B team The Bar-Kays died when their aircraft crashed into Wisconsin"s Lake Monona top top Dec. 10, 1967. No satisfactory explanation because that the accident has ever been determined. Redding to be 26. A first for Redding, "(Sittin" On) The Dock of the Bay," exit a month after ~ the crash, saw number one ~ above the Billboard hot 100.
Acoustic etc in hand and clad in faded denim and work boots, Jim Croce set the typical for 1970s singer-songwriters "Time in a Bottle" and also "Operator." possessing a distinct gift because that combining storytelling through melody, Croce developed unforgettable personalities that reflected the lives, the loves, and the anguish of common people.
Croce, however, to be no overnight success. Struggling to do music his livelihood, he take it a succession of blue collar work while playing clubs for as little as $25 every night. Everything readjusted for Croce in 1972 with the relax of his first album, You Don"t Mess about with Jim, together per Biography. A string of fight singles native the album do Croce a superstar, however life top top the road placed a toll fee on his marriage.
Fed up v the music business, Croce made decision to concentrate on his family. After ~ one much more tour, he planned to leave the roadway for good. On Sept. 20, 1973, Croce play his final concert in Natchitoches, La. After the show, he boarded a chartered Beechcraft E18S bound for Texas, writes author Rich Everitt. On takeoff, the aircraft failed to obtain altitude and also slammed right into a row of trees. There were no survivors. One investigation argued that the pilot may have suffered a heart assault that brought about the accident.
"I"ve got a Name," native Croce"s last album, was released the adhering to day. Croce"s fatality renewed interest in his early on work, and also "Time in a Bottle" native his very first album visited number one.
Beloved by music fans together the biggest Southern rock band of all time, Lynyrd Skynyrd was among the best groups the the 1970s. Front by singer Ronnie van Zant, the band remade absent music in your own photo with songs that reflected your whiskey-soaked, hell-raising lifestyle. Lynyrd Skynyrd rocked as tough as any supergroup of the decade v such hit singles together "Gimme earlier My Bullets" and their signature tune "Sweet home Alabama" but also displayed a soulful side through songs such as "Simple Man" and also the epic "Free Bird."
In 1977, Lynyrd Skynyrd was at their peak. Having just released their critically acclaimed album, Street Survivors, the southern rockers were preparing for a triumphant tour that would placed their tumultuous previous of alcohol, drugs, and in-fighting behind them in ~ last.
On Oct. 20, 1977, the band departed from a present in Greenville, S.C., because that Baton Rouge, La., on their chartered Convair CV-240 airliner, recounts author Rich Everitt. Just short of that destination, the aircraft crashed in a heavily wooded swamp near Gillsburg, Miss. Last radio call from the pilots indicated that the airplane was out of fuel. Lead singer van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines, and also back-up singer Cassie Gaines, and both pilots and also the band"s assistant roadway manager, were eliminated instantly.
In 1979, notorious rock "n" role madman, Ozzy Osobourne was dismissed from the heavy metal powerhouse black color Sabbath, reports Loudwire. However, Osbourne would make an against-all-odds comeback that would an outcome in solo success that would certainly eclipse his days through the legend band.
The cornerstone the Osbourne"s second shot at the metal crown come in the kind of a diminutive etc virtuoso named Randy Rhoads. One of the sexty axemen in Los Angeles, Rhoads was the number one challenger for Edward valve Halen"s throne.
Rhoads, with his classically influenced licks. Reinvigorated a disheartened Osbourne, propelling the singer come renewed popularity. With Rhoads in ~ his side, Osbourne taped back-to-back steel masterpieces Blizzard of Ozz and Diary the a Madman.
Sadly, Rhoads" time in ~ the height of the metal heap was reduced short. On march 19, 1982, writes rich Everitt, Rhoads and also band assembly artist Rachel Youngblood, enjoying a short break prior to a gig in Florida, went for a ride in a obtained Beechcraft Bonanza piloted by Osbourne"s bus driver, Andrew Aycock. Aycock"s attempt to "buzz" the band resting on the bus led to the airplane clipping the vehicle and careening the end of manage into the garage of a surrounding mansion, together per Ultimate standard Rock. All on plank were killed. Rhoads was just 25 years-old.
Rick Nelson come of period as a squeaky-clean boy-next-door alongside his real-life parents and siblings on the 1950s sitcom The Adventures the Harriet. A gifted musician, Nelson ended up being a teenager rock "n" role idol.
As the 60s dawned, Nelson moved away from his 50s popular music past and went in a much more down-home musical direction. In 1972, Nelson delighted in renewed popularity thanks to his song "Garden Party," a reflective acoustic number recounting his terrible appearance at a Madison Square Garden oldies revival show, as per Ricky Nelson: Idol because that a Generation.
Nelson at last adopted his teen idol past and went top top a nostalgia tour through rock "n" roll icon Fats Domino in 1985. His last bid in ~ a comeback was brief lived. Nelson passed away when his chartered DC-3 captured fire over Texas, on brand-new Year"s Day, 1986. Nelson"s fiancée and band also perished in the burn wreckage. Just the pilots, who controlled to effectively land the burn aircraft, survived. As in-depth by writer Rich Everitt, a faulty heater was the doubt cause, but a national Transportation security Board examination was can not to uncover the source of the fire.
John Denver to be a music phenomenon in the 1970s. As a singer-songwriter, he moved effortlessly in between folk, country, and also soft rock. The shaggy haired, bespectacled musician charmed audiences v his laugh "aw-shucks" demeanor and gentle acoustic ballads committed to simplicity and also harmony through nature.
As his music career slowed in the 1980s, Denver turn his attention to politics, ecology, and also humanitarian issues. He was additionally staunchly against music censorship and also memorably testified alongside Frank Zappa and also Twisted Sister"s Dee Snider in ~ a Senate Labor and also Commerce Committee hearing on the topic of record labeling.
Denver was also an aviation enthusiast and also experienced pilot. ~ above Oct. 12, 1997, Denver to be piloting his two-seater, Rutan Long-EZ over California"s Monterey Bay. Denver, 53, crashed the homebuilt, experimental airplane when he was unable come execute a fuel tank switch. As reported by The Los Angeles Times, the vulnerable aircraft damaged apart violent on impact with the water. Denver"s mangled body, found minutes after ~ the crash, was identified by fingerprints the following day.
Only 15 years-old, Aaliyah climbed to stardom as a pop and hip hop emotion in the late 1990s. By the revolve of the millennium, she to be R&B royalty.
As reported by MTV, Aaliyah had just perfect shooting a video for her upcoming single "Rock the Boat" from her self-titled third album on ar in the Bahamas top top Aug. 25, 2001. The singer and also her entourage had chartered a twin-engine Cessna 402B for their return flight to the states. Slightly smaller sized than the aircraft they arrived in, the 402B however seemed huge enough to accommodate Aaliyah"s crew and luggage.
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Over the protestations that the pilot and baggage handler, writes rich Everitt, the weary passengers insisted on taking off in spite of the airplane being overloaded by thousands of pounds. Follow to eyewitnesses, the airplane rose to an altitude of 60 come 100 feet before violently pitching forward and crashing 200 feet from the runway. All nine passenger died. Suffering significant head trauma and burns, Aaliyah was killed instantly. She to be 22.