This seems especially true when it comes to pop music, which over the decades has seen its fair share of unfortunate life-ending events specifically related to air travel. Some of the most famous have occurred "in the line of duty"--on the way to or from concerts, personal appearances, photo/video shoots, etc.--a fact that not only has magnified the tragedies for fans but also has frozen in time the lives of these stars inside our collective memory banks.
Meanwhile, country music fans often point to the March 1963 Tennessee plane crash that took away superstar Patsy Cline along with fellow performers Lloyd "Cowboy" Copas and Harold "Hawkshaw" Hawkins as their own era-stamping equivalent.
Sometimes a plane crash can carry added symbolism. When Swing Era bandleader Glenn Miller's plane disappeared on the way to Paris for a scheduled performance for Allied troops fighting in Europe in mid-December 1944, his death became a powerful emblem of American patriotism during World War II. And when Southern rock group Lynyrd Skynyrd's Ronnie Van Zant and guitarist Steven Gaines and backing vocalist Cassie Gaines lost their lives in October 1977 in a crash near Gillsburg Mississippi, it seemed that perhaps the band had had premonitions: their latest album Street Survivors had just been released featuring an original cover (later changed) that depicted the group standing in flames, a
As evidenced by the likes of singer-songwriters Jim Croce (1973) and John Denver (1997), former teen idol Ricky Nelson (1985), hard rock guitarist Randy Rhoads (1982), bluesman Stevie Ray Vaughan (1990), and R&B vocalist Aaliyah (2001), musician-associated plane crash deaths cut across all styles and genres. Thankfully, the names of Travis Barker and DJ AM did not have to be added to this fateful list.
- Travis Barker