Musicians Who Died In Plane Crashes
On December 10th, 1967, quite a foggy night, rock'n'roll singer Otis Redding (26) and four members of his Bar-Kays band were killed when their Beechcraft H18 plane crashed in icy Lake Monoma near Madison, Wisconsin. Redding is best known for his hit 'Sitting on the Dock of the Bay', which was released after his death. Redding had recorded the song just three days previous.
Buddy Holly never won a Grammy
August 25, 2001: Singer and R&B vocalist and actress, Aaliyah (22), was killed in a plane crash when leaving the Bahamas following a video shoot. Her Cessna 402-B crashed during takeoff. Investigations revealed that the pilot had traces of cocaine and alcohol in his body, and, apparently, the airplane was overloaded. All nine people on board died.
Stevie Ray Vaughan
August 27, 1990: Blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan (35) was killed in a helicopter crash near East Troy, Wisconsin. Four helicopters were being used to night-transport the concert group. The helicopter in question, a Bell BHT-206-B Helicopter, remained at a lower altitude and crashed into the ground soon after taking off into dense fog. Failure to attain adequate altitude by the pilot before flying over rising terrain resulted in the deaths of all five aboard.
March 19, 1982: Randy Rhoads (25), the lead guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne, died when the Beech Bonanza F35 he was aboard crashed into a house after a wing clipped Ozzy Osbourne's tour bus. All 3 aboard were killed as a result of the pilot attempting to 'buzz' the bus, whilst Ozzy was sleeping.
Graeme Strachan (Skyhooks)
Strachan was killed in a helicopter accident on 29 August 2001. He had been a keen student pilot, and had been undergoing training for a helicopter pilot's licence. On a solo flight near Maroochydore in clear weather, he encountered mountain turbulence which caused the rotor of his Bell 47G to sever the tailboom, crashing the helicopter onto a mountain slope.
On 31st December 1985, rock'n'roll singer Ricky Nelson (45), five members of his Stone Canyon band and his fiance, were all killed when a fire broke out on board a DC-3 taking them to a New Years Eve performance in Dallas, Texas. Only two people survived the crash landing near Texas. The fire was caused by a malfunctioning heater.
Bill Graham (not a musician but one of the world's greatest promoters and worth a mention)
Bill Graham was the P.T. Barnum of rock and roll, an unparalleled showman who forever revolutionized the symbiotic relationship between artists and audiences. A catalyst behind the rise of the San Francisco psychedelic scene of the late 1960s, he almost single-handedly pioneered the business of concert promotion, his fusion of theatricality and professionalism introducing new standards in sound, lighting and stage design. Famed for mixing acts of various musical and racial backgrounds on his bills, Graham nurtured the careers of superstars and cult favorites alike, his influence extending from small club dates to stadium tours and festivals; despite no musical talent of his own, he remains one of the truly seminal figures of the rock era... On the night of the 25th October 1991, he and Bill Graham Presents staffers Steve Kahn and Melissa Gold were killed in a helicopter accident. A free concert dubbed "Laughter, Love and Music" soon followed in their honour, headlined by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Santana, Aaron Neville and comedian Robin Williams.
On the 20th October 1977, Lynyrd Skynyrd's chartered Convair 240 ran out of fuel near the end of their flight from Greenville, South Carolina, where they had just performed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Though the pilots attempted an emergency landing on a small airstrip, the plane crashed in a forest in Gillsburg, Mississippi. Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, and Cassie Gaines were all killed on impact; the other bandmembers suffered serious injuries. Following the crash and the ensuing press, Street Survivors became the band's second platinum album and reached #5 on the U.S. album chart. The single "What's Your Name" reached #13 on the single airplay charts in January 1978. Lynyrd Skynyrd disbanded after the tragedy, reforming in 1987.
On the 12th October, 1997, Singer John Denver (53) died when his experimental single-engine Rutan Long EZ plane crashed near Monterey, California. At first, rescuers could not identify the body because the face was burned beyond recognition, but authorities were later able to identify Denver by his fingerprints. Denver was famous for writing and performing 'Leaving on a Jet Plane', 'Sunshine on My Shoulders (Makes Me Happy)' and other songs. The crash occurred when Denver inadvertently pressed down on the plane's right rudder pedal while trying to switch fuel tanks by reaching for the fuel selector switch behind him. The plane had been modified to place the fuel selector switch behind the pilot rather than between his legs.
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