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airplane_taking_off A successful artist spends most of their time on a stage, in a hotel room or on an airplane. Living out of a suitcase and spending extended amounts of time away from friends and family are some of the tradeoffs artists make for fame and fortune. Whether they like it or not, artists have to travel, and the primary means of transportation (for obvious reasons) is via airplane. Tour buses have become relics of the music business and are more for promotion and domestic travel. As far as touring goes – the ‘sky’ is the limit. With tour dates across the globe and legions of fans, a successful artist is never grounded for too long. One month they might be in North America and the next month they are thrilling fans in Europe. The lives of artists are usually high-flying and fast-paced. Sex, drugs and guns are the vices of choice; it’s what some of them celebrate, so there is no surprise when some fall victim to these vices (which is often the case). The list of artists that have died from a drug, gun or sex (or a combination) related incident is quite extensive. However, there are also some artists who died in more innocent, but still tragic circumstances – airplane accidents. These are three of the most well-known airplane accidents that claimed the lives of artists. The-Day-The-Music-Died-Trio-with-Names Probably the most infamous plane crash involving musicians happened on February 3, 1959. Don McLean referred to it as ‘the day the music died’ in his timeless hit ‘American Pie’. On a snowy winter night in 1959, Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens boarded a small single engine plane; it would be the last time they would be seen alive. Shortly after takeoff the plane crashed near a cornfield in Iowa, killing three of Rock and Roll’s brightest stars. The three men were not even 30 years old; Ritchie Valens was still a teenager. lynyrd-skynyrd-top-10 On October 20, 1977, Lynyrd Skynyrd were headed to Baton Rouge, Louisiana from Greenville, South Carolina. Just before takeoff, while the band and crew were boarding the Convair CV-300 plane, the pilot discovered that one of the engines had malfunctioned. Some of the band members were reluctant to board but nonetheless they did. The plane took off and for a while, it seemed like their worst fears were behind them. Unfortunately, that was not the case, the plane developed problems, and the pilot was forced to crash-land. The maneuver was unsuccessful, and the plane crashed into a swamp in Gillsburg, Mississippi killing five passengers. Those killed included lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines, backing vocalist Cassie Gaines, assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, pilot Walter McCreary and co-pilot William Gray. Twenty other passengers managed to survive. denver2 It is well-known that John Denver was passionate about flying. He regularly mentioned it in his songs, and he was also an experienced pilot. John Denver died on October 12, 1997, when his recently purchased Long-EZ – two-seater experimental plane crashed into the Pacific Ocean about 150 yards off Monterey Bay, California. Denver had recently purchased the aircraft as a way to visit his young daughter who attended school in California. The tragic flight was supposed to have been his way of getting acquainted with his new airplane.

List of Artists who died in Airplane Accidents

  1. Otis Redding
  2. Aaliyah
  3. Patsy Cline
  4. Jim Croce
  5. Randy Rhoads
  6. Ricky Nelson
  7. Stevie Ray Vaughan (Helicopter)
  8. The Bar-Kays
  9. Glenn Miller
  10. Jenni Rivera
  11. Jim Reeves
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