Top 10 Famous Musicians Who Died in a Plane Crash
Like many entertainers and celebrities, musicians are busy individuals. With so many things to do within a week, they regularly use the fastest means of transportation available to perform on many locations. These are ten musicians who became unfortunate victims of plane crashes:
10. Jim Reeves
James Travis Reeves was a popular American pop and country songwriter-singer. Reeves and Dean Manuel, his manager boarded a Beechcraft Debonair from Batesville, from Arkansas to Nashville. Over Tennessee, the plane met a violent thunderstorm and Reeves who controlled the plane at the time, might experience spatial disorientation due to thick cloud and low visibility. While trying to seek ground references, he inadvertently stalled the aircraft by letting the airspeed drop too low. The nose and the engine of the plane were buried to the ground, indicating a possible uncontrolled, high-speed spin.
9. Walter Hyatt
Walter Hyatt was an American songwriter and singer. His band, the Uncle Walt’s Band is credited by fans and experts as the Original Americana Artists. His plane was a Delta Airlines’ DC-9 and it disappeared from radar somewhere over the everglades of Florida in May 11, 1996. All 105 passengers and 5 crews were killed instantly in the crash. The DC-9 is totally shattered by the impact, leaving countless small parts all over the swamp. The recovery effort was plagued by alligators, sawgrass and the lack of infrastructure, as the nearest road was 400m away.
8. Kyu Sakamoto
Kyu Sakamoto was a Japanese actor and singer, known for “Sukiyaki”, a popular international hit. The song reached #1 position in 1963 US Billboard Hot 100. In 12 August 1985, his plane a Japan Airlines’ Boeing 747 experienced mechanical failures moments into the flight and it crashed 30 minutes later in Uena, Gunma Prefecture. There were only four survivors from 15 crews and 509 passengers making it one of the deadliest aircraft accidents in the history, second only to the Tenerife airport disaster.
7. Glenn Miller
Alton Glenn Miller was an American bandleader, composer, arranger and jazz musician. On December 1944, he was to play for soldiers stationed in France. The UC-64 Norseman he rode departed UK and disappeared somewhere over the English Channel. No traces of the plane, passengers and aircrews have ever been found. His status is still listed as missing in action.
The most likely cause of the crash was 100,000 incendiary bombs jettisoned by 138 British Lancaster heavy bombers after an aborted bombing raid over Germany. One of the British aircrew reportedly saw a small airplane crashed in the same area.
6. Carlos Gardel
Carlos Gardel was an actor, songwriter and singer. He is considered today as a very important figure in tango music. He made hundreds of 3-minute tango recordings, which are characterized by his dramatic lyrics and Baritone voice. Gardel was aboard a plane that crashed in 24 June 1935, along with two guitarists and a few business associates. As his remains were brought through Rio de Janeiro, New York and Columbia, millions of his fans went into mourning. Gardel is still revered today from Buenos Aires to Tokyo.
5. Patsy Cline
Patsy Cline was an American singer, known for her popular country and pop music. On March 5, 1963, Patsy’s flight encountered bad weather and crashed. Wristwatches collected from the crash site, including Patsy’s, stopped at 6:20, 13 minutes after take off and passengers appeared to be killed instantly. The pilot wasn’t trained in instrument flying, which is required at night and during inclement weather. The wreckage was found in a wooded are near Camden, Tennessee, about 90 miles from Nashville. Interestingly, the flight instructor of Patsy’s pilot also trained Jim Reeves, who crashed the following year due to bad weather on the way to Nashville.
4. Jim Croce
James Joseph Croce was an American songwriter and singer, who have released 11 singles and 5 studio albums. Croce’s best known songs were “Time in a Bottle” and Bad, Bad Leroy Brown”. Croce and five others boarded a Beechcraft on September 20,1973 after completing a concert in Louisiana.
Upon takeoff, the plane didn’t gain altitude clearance from the control tower and curiously, the pilot made no attempt to avoid a pecan tree, the only tree found in the vicinity. The cause of crash was probably pilot’s physical impairment or fog.
3. Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and The Big Bopper
Buddy Holly and Rock Valens were very influential rock and roll pioneers. Holly’s works influenced Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones and many musicians. Valens was considered an important figure in Chicano rock movement during his short recording career of only 8 months with popular songs, such as La Bamba. The Big Bopper was an American songwriter and singer, known for his exuberant personality and big voice. They were killed in a small plane crash over Iowa in an incident known as “The Day the Music Died”.
2. Stevie Ray Vaughan
Stephen Ray Vaughan was a notable recording artist, songwriter, vocalist and guitarist, the leader of the Double Trouble, a legendary blues band. Vaughan and his fellow musicians bound for Chicago with a helicopter on 27 August 1990. Witnesses reported fog and haze of varying intensity at the time. The helicopter crashed into a hill at an elevation of 850 feet. All passengers, including Vaughan were killed on the scene. Experts suspected that the pilot tried to fly around the hill, but thwarted by the thick fog. Eric Clapton was asked to identify his body.
1. John Denver
Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr was an American humanitarian, activist, songwriter and singer. He was an important figure in the American folk music industry and had released about 300 songs. His popular songs were Calypso, Annie’s Song, Rocky Mountain High, Take Me Home, Country Roads, Sunshine on My Shoulders and ironically, Leaving on a Jet Plane.
Denver flew an experimental plane called the Rutan Long-EZ on October 12, 1997, it crashed off the coast of California while he attempted to land at the Monterey Peninsula Airport. The crash was so violent that facial and dental identification attempts on his remains were unsuccessful. John Denver was an experienced singer with nearly 3000 hours of flying experience.