Friday, January 07, 2005


Robert Johnson: Age 27
(b. Robert Leroy Johnson, 8 May 1911, Hazlehurst, MS, d. 16 August 1938, Greenwood, MS).
For a subject upon which it is dangerous to generalise, it hardly strains credulity to suggest that Johnson was the fulcrum upon which post-war Chicago blues turned…His lifestyle, that of an itinerant with a ready facility to impress his female audience… One such dalliance brought about his end a year after his last session, poisoned by a jealous husband while performing in a jook joint at Three Forks, outside Greenwood, Mississippi.

Jimi Hendrix: Age 27
(b. Johnny Allen Hendrix, 27 November 1942, Seattle, Washington, d. 18 September 1970. His father subsequently changed his son's name to James Marshall Hendrix).
More superlatives have been bestowed upon Hendrix than any other rock guitarist. Enough said. On 18 September 1970, his girlfriend, Monika Danneman, became alarmed when she was unable to rouse him from sleep. An ambulance was called, but Hendrix was pronounced dead on arrival at a nearby hospital. The inquest recorded an open verdict, with death caused by suffocation due to inhalation of vomit. Eric Burdon claimed at the time to possess a suicide note, but this has never been confirmed.
Visitor's note: ~Can you please remove the "suicide note" reference from your info on Jimi Hendrix. Eric Burdon's speculation (and this is the nice way I want to describe this) is totally unnecessary. If it came from Mitch Mitchell, Eddie Kramer, Billy Cox, (Not Mike Jeffrey) or anybody who lived or worked with him, then I would be more tolerant of this opinion. ~ Kevin L. Newton

Bon Scott: Age 33
(b. Ronald Scott, 9 July 1946, Kirriemuir, Scotland, d. 20 February 1980).
Scott graduated from being AC/DC’s chauffeur to becoming their vocalist. HIGHWAY TO HELL in 1979 established them as international stars. This, the band's first album with producer Mutt Lange, also proved to be their last with Bon Scott. On 20 February 1980, after a night of heavy drinking, he was left unconscious in a friend's car, and was later found to be dead, having choked on his own vomit. The coroner recorded a verdict of death by misadventure. Grave Site

Tommy Dorsey: Age 50
(b. 19 November 1905, Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, USA, d. 26 November 1956).
In 1934 he and Jimmy formed the Dorsey Brothers Orchestra, which became extremely popular. Despite, or perhaps because of, their close relationship, the brothers frequently argued, sometimes violently, and after one such disagreement in May 1935, Tommy walked out leaving Jimmy to take over leadership of the orchestra. Tommy then took over the excellent danceband led by Joe Haymes. Highly ambitious, Dorsey set about turning the band, which was already a sound and well-disciplined unit, into the finest dance orchestra of the era. And although Frank Sinatra had already begun to establish a reputation with Harry James, it was his stint with Dorsey that made him into an international singing star. Nevertheless, the '50s were difficult times and in 1953, he was happy to be reunited with his brother, whose own outfit had folded. Tommy Dorsey gave Jimmy a featured spot and renamed his band as the Dorsey Brothers Orchestra. A heavy eater, Tommy Dorsey choked to death in his sleep. He had had a big dinner and was accustomed to using pills to help him sleep.

John Bonham:Age 32
Led Zeppelin
(b. 31 May 1947, Birmingham, England, d. 25 September 1980).
This pivotal quartet was formed in October 1968. The four gelled immediately and having completed outstanding commitments under the name 'New Yardbirds', became Led Zeppelin following an off-the-cuff quip by the Who's Keith Moon, who remarked when rating their prospects that they would probably go down like a lead zeppelin. After releasing In Through The Out Door in 1979 two concerts at Britain's Knebworth Festival were the prelude to a short European tour on which the group unveiled a stripped-down act, inspired, in part, by the punk explosion. Rehearsals were then undertaken for another US tour, but in September 1980, Bonham was found dead following a lengthy drinking bout. On 4 December, Swan Song announced that the group had officially retired.


Eden Ahbez: Age 86
Born Alexander Aberle
(b. 15 April 1908, Brooklyn, NY d. 4 March 1995, CA)
Eden Ahbez was one of the authentic fringe figures in space age pop, a one-shot wonder so dramatically different from anyone else that he became, perhaps, a greater legend than his accomplishments justify. Born a good Jewish boy in Brooklyn, he ended up cultivating a Christ-like appearance and reputation among the fruits and nuts of sunny southern California... he died in 1995 after being hit by a car.
~Space Age Pop, more bio:
Eden Ahbez, composer of the legendary Nat King Cole hit, "Nature Boy," died on March 4, 1995, from injuries sustained in an automobile accident in Sky Valley, California. "Nature Boy," originally written in the late 1940's, was recorded by dozens of artists, including George Benson and Ahbez, himself. Brooklyn-born Ahbez lived semi-reclusively during his later years in Desert Hot Springs, California. Two albums of Ahbez music are being released in 1995. ~ASCAP

Rex Allen Sr.: Age 77
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - Rex Allen Sr., a singer and actor in Westerns who also served as the voice on Walt Disney films and TV shows, died from injuries suffered when he accidentally was run over by a car. He was 77. Police believe his caretaker did not realize Allen was behind the car when she began to back it up, police spokeswoman Judy Altieri said. Detectives were attempting to determine whether Allen had fallen before he was hit. Allen, who grew up on an Arizona ranch, starred in several western movies, including a 1949 film called ``The Arizona Cowboy,'' and in a television series called ``Frontier Doctor.'' His signature stallion for the western movies, Koko the Wonder Horse, was added in his second film, ``The Hills of Oklahoma.'' ...Allen joined with the National Barn Dance on WLS in Chicago and subsequently was signed by Mercury Records. His hits included ``Streets of Laredo'' and ``Crying in the Chapel.''

Jack Anglin: Age 46
(b.13 March 1916, on a farm near Columbia, Williamson County, Tennessee, d. 7 March 1963).
Jack worked at a local hosiery mill and here became acquainted with his future wife, Louise and through her, her brother Johnnie Wright. At the time Wright, his wife Muriel ( Kitty Wells) and Louise were regulars on WSIX as Johnnie Wright And The Harmony Girls. The two men became friends and when, in 1939, the Anglin Brothers disbanded, Jack was soon performing with Wright as Johnnie Wright And The Happy Roving Cowboys with Jack Anglin. In 1940, they became Johnnie And Jack, who enjoyed much success as a vocal duo until Jack Anglin's career came to an untimely end in 1963. Driving alone to attend a memorial service for Patsy Cline not far from his home, he rounded a bend on New Due West Avenue in Madison at high speed, crashed and was instantly killed. No other vehicle was involved. Alternate take: While driving to Patsy's memorial, he lost control and plunged down an embankment. Although he was still alive when pulled from the wreckage, he was DOA at the hospital. ~ Metroactive

Greg Arama: Age 29
Died: 09-18-79
Amboy Dukes

Stiv Bators: Age 40
Dead Boys
(b. Stivin Bator, 22 October 1949, Cleveland, Ohio, USA, d. 4 June 1990, Paris, France).
Bators formed his first bands Mother Goose and Frankenstein, who were transmuted into a seminal US ‘no wave’ band the Dead Boys. They moved to New York in 1976. Although they officially split in 1978 there would be frequent reunions, as Bators moved to Los Angeles where he recorded demos with friend Jeff Jones (ex-Blue Ash). After appearing in John Walter's cult movie Polyester, Bators formed a touring band with Rick Bremner replacing Quinton. By 1981, Bators had become a permanent member of the Wanderers. After the impressive ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE (1981), Bators took Dave Treganna (ex-Sham 69) with him to join James and Nicky Turner (ex-Barracudas) in Lords Of The New Church. Following the Lords' demise, Bators resurfaced in London in 1989 for a Return Of The Living Boys gig. This time his cohorts were drawn from a variety of local personnel, and it was not until he returned to Paris that he entered a recording studio once more. With six songs completed, Bators was hit by car in June 1990, and died the day after. "In June 1990, while standing on a sidewalk in Paris, Stiv was hit by a car. He walked away from the accident, because he was immune by then to suffering pain, but later died in his sleep at home." ~ from Stiv Bators page.

Chris Bell: Age 27
Big Star
(b. 12 Jan 1951, Memphis, TN, d. 28 Dec. 1978, Memphis, TN).
Bell was the major writer and performer for Big Star. Prior to the Box Tops Alex Chilton sang in a few Memphis groups. One of these groups included Bill Cunningham and Chris Bell, though Alex only briefly worked with them at the time. After the Box Tops disbanded Alex returned to Memphis where he joined Chris Bell's power trio, Ice Water. They changed their name to Big Star and recorded two albums which, while unsuccessful at the time, had a huge influence. After Alex Chilton joined the band, Bell quit, unable to deal with their fights. Bell died in a 1978 car crash, hitting a telephone pole.

Jesse Belvin: Age 27
(b. 15 December 1932, San Antonio, Texas, USA, d. 6 February 1960)
Earth Angel, a collaboration with two fellow conscripts, was recorded successfully by The Penguins, while Belvin enjoyed a major hit in his own right with Goodnight My Love, a haunting, romantic ballad adopted by disc jockey Alan Freed as the closing theme to his highly-influential radio show. In 1958 Belvin formed a vocal quintet, The Shields, to record for Dot Records the national Top 20 hit, You Cheated. That same year the singer was signed to RCA Records, who harboured plans to shape him in the mould of Nat King Cole and Billy Eckstine. Further hits, including Funny and Guess Who —the latter of which was written by his wife and manager Jo Ann—offered a cool, accomplished vocal style suggestive of a lengthy career, but Belvin died, along with his wife, following a car crash in February 1960. For a more in depth account, see: Eric Lenaburg

Bob Berg: Age 51
(Born Robert Berg 7 April 1951 in Brooklyn, NY. Died: 5 Dec. 2002 in Amagansett , NY)
Robert Berg, saxophonist killed in auto accident; at 51
By Samuel Bruchey, Newsday.
AMAGANSETT, N.Y. - Acclaimed tenor saxophonist Robert Berg was killed Thursday when a cement truck skidded across a snow-slicked road and rammed into his sport utility vehicle, East Hampton police said. Mr. Berg, whose career encompassed free jazz, soul jazz, jazz rock, and straight-ahead playing, was driving east on Route 27 with his wife when the cement truck approached from the opposite direction, Police Chief Todd Sarris said Thursday. The driver of the truck, Dennis Walker Jr., swerved slightly toward the eastbound lane to maneuver around a car that was turning, Sarris said. The slight turn on the slippery pavement was enough to cause the truck to slide across the road and ram Berg's vehicle. ''This appears to have been caused by the weather,'' Sarris said. Mr. Berg, 51, who lived in East Hampton, Long Island, was pronounced dead at the scene. His wife, Arja Berg, 52, suffered facial lacerations and broken bones...Mr. Berg, who was born in Brooklyn, began his musical career in New York City in the 1960s at the High School of Performing Arts and the Juilliard School. For more than a decade, he toured the country and recorded regularly with several bands, playing for Horace Silver and Cedar Walton among others, and developing a hard bop style that echoed such legends as John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, and Wayne Shorter. In 1984, Miles Davis invited Mr. Berg to join his fusion band, and after several worldwide tours, Mr. Berg left with the reputation as one of the more interesting tenor saxophonists in the New York music scene. Mr. Berg's solo albums include ''In the Shadows,'' ''Enter the Spirit,'' ''Virtual Reality,'' and ''Riddles.''

Chu Berry: Age 31
tenor sax
(b Leon Berry, 13 September 1910, Wheeling, West Virginia, d. 30 October 1941).
In the early '30s Berry played tenor saxophone with a number of New York bands, including sessions for Spike Hughes and spells with the bands of Benny Carter and Fletcher Henderson. He was in great demand among leaders who were setting up recording and club sessions and played on memorable dates with Roy Eldridge and Lionel Hampton. In 1937, he was added to the star-studded Cab Calloway band, where his musical influence helped build the band's reputation as a fine jazz outfit (despite the leader's exhibitionism). A superbly eloquent soloist, Berry's playing was in the mold of Coleman Hawkins with a rich and emotional sound. However, before he was able to forge a completely distinctive style, he received severe head injuries in a car crash while touring with Calloway and died a few days later.

Marc Bolan: Age 30
T. Rex
(b. Mark Feld, 30 July 1947, London, England, d. 16 September 1977).
Initially dubbed Toby Tyler, he completed several unsuccessful demo discs before reportedly adopting his new surname from ( Bo) b Dy( lan). A former model in the halcyon Mod era, Bolan began his singing career during the mid-60s folk boom. Frustrated at his commercial impasse, the artist then opted to join Napier-Bell proteges John's Children in 1967. He composed their best-known single, Desdemona, but left the line-up after a matter of months to form Tyrannosaurus Rex (later T. Rex). Between 1970-73 this highly popular attraction enjoyed a run of 10 consecutive Top 5 singles, but Marc's refusal to alter the formula of his compositions resulted in an equally spectacular decline. Bolan was, nonetheless, one of the few established musicians to embrace punk and a contemporary television series, MARC, revived a flagging public profile. This ascendancy ended abruptly in September 1977 when the artist, as a passenger in a car driven by his common law wife, American soul singer Gloria Jones, was killed when they crashed into a tree on Barnes Common, London. (T. Rex members: Steve Peregrine Took died in 1980 choking on a cherry pit on mushrooms, and Steve Currie, who had played bass on Electric Warrior and The Slider, met his end in 1981. Also, Marc's first and only wife -they never divoced, June Bolan passed away of a heart attack while vactioning in Turkey in 1995 at age aprox. 46). T. Rex Connections

D. Boon: Age 27
The Minutemen
(b. Dennis Dale Boon, 1 April 1958, d. 22 Dec. 1985).
Formed in 1980 in San Pedro, California, USA, and originally known as the Reactionaries. This influential hardcore trio initially comprised D. Boon (guitar/vocals), Mike Watt (bass) and Frank Tonche (drums), but the last named was replaced by George Hurley prior to recording. Although the trio donated tracks to several independent compilations, notably for the pivotal Radio Tokyo Tapes and the Posh Boy and New Alliance labels, their association with SST Records resulted in some of the genre's most impressive recordings. The Minutemen started in february of 1980 and roared on 'til December 22, 1985 when D. boon was killed in a van accident in Arizona.

Clifford Brown: Age 25
(b. 30 October 1930, Wilmington, Delaware, USA, d. 26 June 1956).
By his late teens Brown had attracted the favorable attention of leading jazzmen, including fellow trumpeters Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis and Fats Navarro. In the autumn of 1953 he was a member of the big band Lionel Hampton took to Europe. Brown then joined Art Blakey and in mid-1954 teamed up with Max Roach to form the Clifford Brown-Max Roach Quintet. The quintet was quickly recognized as one of the outstanding groups in contemporary jazz and Brown as a major trumpeter and composer. On a rain-swept, early morning in June, 1956, on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, Clifford Brown, along with pianist Richie Powell, and Richie's wife, Nancy (who was driving) was killed when their automobile hurtled over an embankment. Fortunately for jazz fans, Brown's own work persists in the form of his recordings almost any of which can be safely recommended as outstanding examples of the very best of jazz. Indeed, all of his recordings with Roach are classics. See the new book: Clifford Brown : The Life and Art of the Legendary Jazz Trumpeter

Milton Brown: Age 32
( b. 8 September 1903 Stephensville, TX, d. 18 April 1936).
Bob Wills and Milton Brown each went on to head one of the two most popular and important Western Swing bands. Wills assumed the title of "King of Western Swing" and remained active for many years. He died on May 13, 1975. Milton Brown, who more properly deserves the title "Founder of Western Swing," died on April 18, 1936, the victim of a tragic automobile accident. Although he wasn't killed on impact, he died five days after the crash, from pneumonia. Milton Brown, only 32 years of age, was lost to us just at a time when he was preparing to rise to prominence on the national scene. A Milton Brown photo. A Milton Brown book: Milton Brown & the Founding of Western Swing

Clifford Lee Burton: Age 24
(b. 10 February 1962, USA, d. 27 September 1986, Sweden).
Formed during 1981, in California, USA by Lars Ulrich (b. 26 December 1963, Copenhagen, Denmark; drums) and James Alan Hetfield (b. 3 August 1963, USA; guitar/vocals) after each separately advertised for fellow musicians in the classified advertisements of the American publication THE RECYCLER. Jef Warner (guitar) and Ron McGovney (bass) each had a brief involvement with Metallica, and at the end of 1982, Clifford Lee Burton, formerly of Trauma, joined the band, playing his first live performance on 5 March 1983. Burton had never been a particularly smooth player, but other band members had not attempted to reign him in. They did try once, however, to persuade him to forego his bell-bottom jeans in favor of more traditional heavy metal garb, but quickly realized the attempt was futile; Burton was set in his ways and rarely influenced by others. In truly bizarre heavy metal fashion, one of his dreams had been to invent a gun that shot knives instead of bullets. The Ulrich, Hetfield, Burton and Hammett combination lasted until disaster struck the band in the small hours of 27 September 1986, when Metallica's tour bus overturned in Sweden on an icy road, killing Cliff Burton.

Bianca Butthole: Age 36
Betty Blowtorch
Died outside New Orleans, LA on 15 December 2001
On Saturday, December 15, around 5:30 a.m., after a show with tour mates Nashville Pussy in New Orleans, Bianca took a ride with a friend in his Corvette. Reportedly, the driver was speeding, lost control, spun around and was sideswiped by another car on Bianca's side. She was killed instantly. There have been reports that the driver was intoxicated, but Bianca was sober and had been for several years. The Bronx, New York born, Studio City, California raised musician left behind ex-husband Andrew Halstead, parents Jerry and Angele Woolery, sisters Selina Smith and Victoria Roberts, brother Andrew Wilson and countless admirers.
December 17, 2001 – Bianca Halstead (a.k.a. Bianca Butthole), bassist/singer for Hollywood hard rockers Betty Blowtorch was killed 5:30 a.m. yesterday morning in a car accident in New Orleans. She was 36 years old. The driver of the car was 33-year-old William McAllister, reportedly a correspondent for Metal Sludge. According to Chris Lee from the New Orleans band Supagroup, who was with Bianca up until she left with McAllister, McAllister and Bianca left the El Matador Lounge near on Decatur Street after a night of post-gig partying with tourmates Nashville Pussy following their gig at the Howlin' Wolf. "They were driving on the I10 toward Kinner in a '86 Corvette when McAllister lost control of the wheel and the car spun around. They were sideswiped by another car on Bianca's side and she was killed instantly. McAllister is be held by New Orleans police and is facing criminal charges. The two passengers in the other car have been hospitalized." A local news story on the incident reported today that their car jumped the median and swerved into oncoming traffic before being hit. Sources say McAllister appeared inebriated, though Bianca had been sober for 10 years.

Tommy Caldwell: Age 30
The Marshall Tucker Band
(b. 1950, Spartanburg, South Carolina, USA, d. 28 April 1980).
Formed in 1971 in South Carolina, the Marshall Tucker Band was a ‘southern-rock’ style outfit which maintained modest popularity from the early to late '70s. Their highest-charting album, SEARCHIN' FOR A RAINBOW, came in 1975. Their first single to chart was This Ol' Cowboy, also in 1975. Most of the group's albums were gold or platinum sellers through 1978, and the 1977 single Heard It In A Love Song was their best-selling, reaching number 14. On April 28, 1980, Tommy Caldwell passed away from injuries sustained in a car wreck almost a week earlier. The efect of Caldwell's death took a lot of the wind out of the band's sails, but Marshall Tucker continued on, enlisting old Toy Factory bassist Franklin wilkie to fill the vacancy. The group continued to perform after the death, but never recaptured their '70s success. (Toy Caldwell eventually pursued a solo career and relesed one album, Toy Caldwell Band, in 1992 to good notices. Unfortunately, Caldwell passed away suddenly from heart attack on February 25, 1993).

Helen Carr: Age 36 or 38
Died 1960
With the exception of one song cut with Charles Mingus in 1946 and two with King Curtis later in the 1950s, her CD (which consists of Helen Carr's two Bethlehem albums) has the complete output of the talented but short-lived singer who died in 1960 at age 36. Carr's interpretations fall between jazz and middle-of-the-road pop, yet her treatments of the standards consistently swing and uplift the material. ~Scott Yanow AMG

John Cascella: Age 45
John Mellencamp's Band
Born: April 29, 1947; Died Nov. 14, 1992

William Cathey: Age 33
Billy Stewart's Band
Born: 1937; Died: January 17, 1970
Experiencing brake problems, the new car that Stewart and the group were riding struck a bridge abutment and plunged into a river.

Harry Chapin: Age 37
(b. 7 December 1942, New York, USA, d. 16 July 1981).
The son of a big band drummer, Chapin played in the Brooklyn Heights Boys’ Choir and during his teens formed a group with his brothers, Tom and Stephen. Immensely talented as a writer and film-maker, he directed the Oscar-nominated LEGENDARY CHAMPIONS in 1968, after which he returned to music. He was signed to Elektra Records and his debut HEADS AND TALES and the six-minute single Taxi enjoyed minor success in the US charts. In 1974, Chapin secured the US Christmas number 1 single with the evocative Cat's In The Cradle. With a series of albums, strongly narrative in tone, it was clear that Chapin was capable of extending himself and in 1975 he wrote the Broadway musical revue, THE NIGHT THAT MADE AMERICA FAMOUS. That same year, he also won an Emmy award for his musical work on the children's television series, MAKE A WISH. The title track to his album SEQUEL, which was a story sequel to his first hit Taxi, gave him his final US Top 30 entry. On 16 July, while traveling to a benefit concert, his car was hit by a truck in Jericho, New York and the singer was killed. Chapin, who had several tickets for speeding and moving violations, and had his driver's license revoked, was driving illegally. His oldest brother, James, told Diliberto in People: "Ironically, I don't think this accident was Harry's fault."

Eddie Cochran: Age 21
(b. 3 October 1938, Albert Lea, Minnesota, USA, d. 17 April 1960, Wiltshire, England).
Although Cochran's career was brief, during which time he topped the charts only once, he is now regarded as one of the finest ever rock ‘n’ roll artists. In 1956 his cameo performance of Twenty Flight Rock in the film The Girl Can't Help It gave this handsome James Dean lookalike the career boost he needed and he was signed by Liberty Records. The song Summertime Blues has been recorded and performed by dozens of artists, and is now one of the most famous rock songs of all time. Cochran was killed in Chippenham, Wiltshire, when his taxi suffered a burst tire and veered off the road and crashed. Gene Vincent was a badly injured passenger, as was Sharon Sheeley, co-writer of his posthumous hit Something Else, (which became a major hit for the Sex Pistols in 1979). His biggest record was the inappropriately titled Three Steps To Heaven which topped the UK chart shortly after his untimely death.

Rob Collins: Age 33
The Charlatans UK
(Born: 1963, Died: 22 July 1996)
Rob Collins, the great keyboardist and hammond player in The Charlatans, died from injuries resulting from a car crash at Rockfield near Monmouth in Gwent, Wales. on Monday 22nd of July. Rob was only 33 years old. He was divorced and had a four year old daughter. Rob Collins was driving a red BMW with another passanger when the accident occured. They were currently recording their fifth album at Rockfield Studios... ~

Keven A. "Dino" Conner, Age 28
H-Town's Dino Conner, R&B artist, dies at 28
Copyright 2003 Houston Chronicle
Keven A. "Dino" Conner, a force in Houston's rhythm and blues scene, died Tuesday in an automobile accident. He was 28. Between the gangsta rap of the Geto Boys and Scarface and the dance bounce of Destiny's Child was the multimillion-album-selling trio who felt so much pride in their hometown they named the group after it: H-Town. Nine years after the group went national with the hit Knockin' Da Boots and more than five years since its last release, H-Town was preparing to reunite. Those plans are now on hold after Conner's death. Houston police report that a sports utility vehicle struck a car driven by Teshya Rae Weisent, 22, in which Conner was a passenger. Conner's twin brother and bandmate, Shazam Conner, said Weisent had just picked Dino Conner up from his recording studio. The SUV allegedly ran a red light and struck the vehicle, throwing Conner and Weisent from the car. Conner died en route to the hospital; Weisent was dead at the scene. "We had basically just finished recording our new album and were getting ready for an H-Town reunion tour," said Shazam Conner. "We really haven't had time to think about what will happen now." H-Town got its break in the early '90s after being signed to 2 Live Crew band leader Luther Campbell's Luke record label. It was the only nonrap group Luke carried at the time. Its first album, Fever For Da Flavor, was anchored by the single Knockin' Da Boots. The song's soulful harmony helped propel it to sales of over 1 million and a rating as the No. 12-selling single of 1993. The clever turn of phrase became synonymous with sex. The next year, H-Town received a best new R&B artist honors Soul Train Award in 1994 and nominations at the American Music and Billboard Awards. Radio morning show host Mad Hatta at Houston's KBXX, 97.9 FM, The Box became friends with H-Town members in 1993. He said one of the thrills of his career was when the trio thanked him while accepting the award on the televised broadcast. "They gave me a shout out and I will never forget it because it was my birthday," said Hatta. H-Town followed up Fever for Da Flavor with 1994's Beggin' After Dark and Ladies Edition. The group also shared space with stars like Snoop Dogg's Dogg Pound on the hip-hop movie soundtrack to Above the Rim, and Brian McKnight on the Addams Family Values soundtrack. Shazam said H-Town remains one of the most successful groups never signed to a major label, with more than 8 million albums sold worldwide. Funeral arrangements for Conner are pending. He is survived by a daughter. A candlelight vigil at 9543 South Main is being arranged for Monday night. More details are available on The Box Web site,

Luis "Papo" Deschamps: Age 23
Sandy y Papo
(d.12 July 1999)
One of the members of the Dominican rap group Sandy y Papo died on Monday (July 12). Luis "Papo" Deschamps was killed in a car accident at the age of 23. Sandy y Papo debuted in 1996 with music that combined merengue rhythms with house and hip-hop. The duo, which also included Sandy Carriello, had been working on its third album recently. ~

Freyda Epstein, Age 46
Died: May 19, 2003
Berkeley folk musician killed in Virginia crash
A folk musician from Berkeley, Calif. was killed in a head-on crash with a car driven by a man who had allegedly beat and stabbed his girlfriend, police said Monday. The man was also killed. Freyda Epstein, 46, who recorded and toured with the group Trapezoid, was killed early Saturday on U.S. 29 when a car driven by Richard Eugene Brock, 41, crossed the road and hit her rental car head-on. Police believe Brock may have intentionally crossed into Epstein's path. "There were no skid marks, and the angle across the median took him straight to Epstein's car," Trooper V.A. Velasquez said. "It may have been a suicide attempt or an attempt to throw off police. We'll never know." Earlier, Penelope Pelkey, 38, was stabbed and beaten by Brock at her home in Standardsville, Pelkey told police. They left the house and drove to a convenience store in Madison, where Brock allegedly began to beat her before he fled, leaving her at the store. Pelkey was listed in serious condition Monday at the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville. Epstein, a Boston native, was a member of Trapezoid, a group based in Elkins, W.Va., from 1980 to 1988. She played violin and sang. "During that time we did probably over 1,000 concerts and made three albums together," said Paul Riesler, leader of the group. "She was a remarkable singer." Epstein, who lived in Charlottesville in the 1990s, was on her way to visit fellow musicians there. Epstein moved to California a few years ago and was a lead choral director for the World Harmony Chorus. A memorial service for Epstein will be held Wednesday in Charlottesville. ~(05-19) 18:40 PDT MADISON, Va. (AP) --

Falco: Age 40
(b. Johann Hoelzl, 19 February 1957, Austria, d. February 6, 1998, Dominican Republic).
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) -- Falco, a classical music prodigy who turned to pop music and had a 1986 hit with "Rock Me Amadeus," has died in a traffic accident, officials said Saturday. He was 40. The Austrian-born singer and songwriter, whose original name was Johann Holzel, suffered a severe head injury when his sport utility vehicle collided with a bus as he was pulling onto a highway Friday evening near the resort of Puerto Plata. He died at a Puerta Plata hospital. There were no other injuries in the crash. Police detained the bus driver, but no charges have been filed. Police said Holzel was vacationing at the resort, one of the most popular tourism destinations in this Caribbean country, especially among Europeans. Falco was a classical music child prodigy who turned to pop music. His albums featured the synthesizer-based pop rock that was popular in the 1980s. His hits included "Der Kommisar," "Rock Me Amadeus," and "Vienna Calling." Officials at the hospital where Holzel died said his body was moved to Luis Eduardo Aybar Hospital in Santiago, about 35 miles south of Puerto Plata where an autopsy would be performed.
For Squirrels

Jack Vigliatura: Age 21; Bill White: Age 23
Two articles: Link 1 -- Link 2
On September 8, 1995, the band's van blew a tire and overturned [in Midway, GA] on the way back to Florida from a gig at CBGB's in New York. Vigliatura [the driver], White, and manager Tim Bender were killed, while Tooke and Greigo also suffered injuries. Example, released less than a month later, received overwhelming support from college radio. Tooke and Greigo were encouraged and decided to continue the band with high-school friend Andy Lord on bass. -- John Bush, All-Music Guide

Keith Godchaux: Age 32
Grateful Dead
(b. 19 July 1948; d. 23 July 1980).
After years of ill-health through alcohol abuse, Pigpen died in 1973. He was replaced by Keith Godchaux from Dave Mason's band, who together with his wife Donna on vocals compensated for the tragic loss. Although they had been with the band for some years, Keith and Donna Godcheaux had never truly fitted in. They were asked to leave at the end of 1979. They rebounded into a band called Ghosts which reformed as the Heart of Gold Band. The word is that the first gig was sensational, and a few days later they went into the Dead's Front Street Studio. After one wonderful night of rehearsal, Keith drove off to the car crash that killed him. Visitor's note: "Incidentely, in case you are unfamiliar with the details of Keith Godchaux's death, as I recall, he and a buddy were leaving a toll plaza and drove into the back of a flatbed truck killing KG." ~

Earl Grant: Age 37
(b.20 January 1933, Oklahoma City, OK, d. 10 June 1970).
Earl Grant was an easy-listening pianist/organist and singer who was popular in the late '50s and early '60s. Grant signed to Decca Records in 1958 and reached number 7 in the US charts with his first single, The End, which received airplay on ‘beautiful music’ stations in the USA. His first album, EBB TIDE, released in 1961, was also a number 7 entry. He placed five further singles in the US charts and six more albums (of over 20 released on Decca) through 1968. Grant appeared in a number of films as well. He died in a car accident in Lordsburg, New Mexico, USA.

Michael Hedges: Age 43
(b. 31 Dec. 1953, Enid, OK, d. 1 Dec. 1997 Medocino County, CA).
This American guitarist, singer and composer has moved from being known to possess a highly individual instrumental style to a growing acclaim as a singer and composer. In 1980, he moved to California to study computer music at Stanford University and was signed by the Windham Hill Records label. The 43-year-old Grammy nominee was found dead down a steep embankment. He apparently had died several days earlier while driving home from San Francisco International Airport after a Thanksgiving visit to his girlfriend in Long Island, NY, said his manager and longtime friend, Hillary Burgess. He had been thrown from his 1986 BMW, which had tumbled 120 feet over the cliff, apparently after skidding on a rain-slicked S-curve, California Highway Patrol spokesman Bob Burke said. Worn tires and speed may have contributed to the crash, Burke said . It appeared Hedges had died close to instantly, Deputy Mendocino County Coroner Kevin roin said.

Bertha "Chippie" Hill: Age 45
(Born: March 15, 1905 in Charleston, SC, Died: May 7, 1950 in NYC)
One of the better classic blues singers of the 1920's (and much less vaudeville-oriented than many of her contemporaries), Chippie Hill was one of the few singers of her generation to make a full-fledged comeback in the 1940's. One of 16 children, she started working in 1916 as a dancer before she became better known as a singer. She toured with Ma Rainey's Rabbit Foot Minstrels and then was a solo performer on vaudeville for a long period. Hill settled in Chicago in 1925 and recorded regularly for a few years. After working steadily in the Chicago area until 1930 (including touring with Lovie Austin), she eventually left music to raise seven children. Hill occasionally sang during the next 15 years (including with Jimmie Noone) but mostly worked outside of music. She was rediscovered by writer Rudi Blesh in 1946, working in a bakery. Appearances on Blesh's "This Is Jazz" radio series resulted in her coming back to the music scene, performing at the Village Vanguard, Jimmy Ryan's and even appearing at Carnegie Hall in 1948 with Kid Ory. She sang at the Paris Jazz Festival, worked with Art Hodes in Chicago and was back in prime form in 1950 when she was run over by a car and killed. Chippie Hill, who introduced Richard M. Jones' "Trouble In Mind" in 1926, recorded 23 titles during 1925-29 with such sidemen as Jones, Louis Armstrong, Shirley Clay, Georgia Tom Dorsey, Tampa Red and Punch Miller. She also recorded nine selections on two dates in 1946 with Lee Collins, Lovie Austin, Baby Dodds and Montana Taylor. -- Scott Yanow, All Music Guide

Johnny Horton: Age 35
(b. 3 April 1925, Los Angeles, CA, d. 5 November 1960, Texas).
For a time he worked in the fishing industry but began his singing career on KXLA Pasadena in 1950 and soon acquired the nickname of The Singing Fisherman. Horton recorded Honky Tonk Man the day after Elvis Presley recorded Heartbreak Hotel and Presley's bass player, Bill Black, was on the session. The song was successfully revived by Dwight Yoakam in 1986, while George Jones revived another song recorded that day, I'm A One Woman Man, in 1989. He married Hank Williams’ widow, Billie Jean, in September 1953. In 1959, Horton switched direction and concentrated on story songs, often with an historical basis, and had his first US country number l with a Tillman Franks song, When It's Springtime In Alaska. This was followed by his version of Jimmie Driftwood's The Battle Of New Orleans, which became a number l pop and country hit in the USA. On 5 November 1960 Horton was killed in an automobile accident on a Milano, Texas bridge following an appearance at the Skyliner in Austin, which also claimed the life his guitarist, Tommy Tomlinson. Tillman Franks received serious injuries but eventually pulled through. Billie Jean became a country star's widow for the second time in seven years.
Visitor's letter (March 24, 1999):
I did catch one discrepancy, though. It is in the account of Johnny Horton's car accident. I wanted to check it out to see whether you mentioned Tommy Tomlinson, his guitarist. You did. However, you incorrectly stated he was killed in the car wreck. Fortunately for me, he wasn't. He, [and] my father, and Horton were friends. Tommy did lose one leg in the accident and spent the rest of his life in pain. I was born in 1955 and grew up knowing Tommy. He spent a lot of time in our home during my youth and I learned much about the guitar from him. The last time I saw Tommy was in 1975 at my uncle's funeral. He (Tommy) eventually died of congestive heart failure due to longtime addiction to painkillers and amphetamines. I lost track of him after the midseventies but remember reading in the Shreveport La. Times of his death in the very early eighties. Tillman Franks, who played upright bass, was in the backseat of the car wreck and was not hurt terribly bad. He still lives in Shreveport and writes and records gospel music these days. I saw him a couple of years ago at a spring cultural festival I played at on the Red River in Shreveport.

The Jody Grind:
Need more information.
Before there was a Cocktail Nation and a mania for retro lounge music, Atlanta's Jody Grind were turning out jazzy renditions of Gershwin, Bacharach and Dusty Springfield numbers, country & western standards and original rock songs that hybridized those forms with alternative music. Singer Kelly Hogan distinguished the band (Bill Taft; guitars, Walter Brewer; drums and Robert Hayes; bass) from any number of alternative groups, as she was a real singer and used her beautiful voice to great effect. Long an Atlanta scene favorite, in 1990 DB Records released One Man's Trash is Another Man's Treasure. Followed by the more experimental Lefty's Deceiver, the band's career was cut short following a car accident which killed two members. Hogan continues to perform as a solo act in Atlanta and has released one record. — Denise Sullivan

Kemistry: Age 35
Kemi Olusanya, one half of drum-n-bass duo Kemistry and Storm, was fatally wounded while driving back to London from an appearance in Southhampton with her partner, Storm, during the early hours of Sunday April 25. Storm, who was not injured in any way but emotionally, could not be reached for further details concerning the accident. ~pflash Click on Kemistry for more details

Jonny Kidd: Age 26
Johnny Kidd and the Pirates
(born 1940-died October 7, 1966). Auto accident.

King Ernest: Age 60
(Born: May 30, 1939, Died: March 4, 2000)

Scott LaFaro: Age 25
jazz bass -- Another link
(Born: April 3, 1936 in Newark, NJ, Died: July 6, 1961 in Geneva, NY)
During his tragically short life, Scott LaFaro quickly developed into one of the most advanced bassists around, competing with Charlie Haden and Charles Mingus. He emphasized high notes, could play with great speed and his interplay with Bill Evans in their trio was mutually stimulating and influential. LaFaro originally played clarinet and tenor before settling on bass while in college. He was with Buddy Morrow's band (1955-56), toured with Chet Baker (1956-57) and worked during the next few years with Ira Sullivan, Barney Kessel, Cal Tjader and Benny Goodman among others. LaFaro joined the Bill Evans Trio in 1959 and, although he would record with Ornette Coleman (including Free Jazz) and gig with Stan Getz, the bassist is best remembered for his association with Evans, particularly their Village Vanguard recordings of 1961. The 25-year old Scott LaFaro's death in a car accident shortly after was a major shock to the jazz world. -- Scott Yanow, All-Music Guide Scott LaFaro's life and career were cut short in July of 1961. While driving home late one night his car went off the road and struck a tree. Scott died instantly and the world lost a talented and innovative musical voice. ©1998 Kevin Crosby. In sum, LaFaro visited Geneva, his home town, spent some time with some local friends, drove one of them to visit a mutual friend, left to return to Geneva, fell asleep at the wheel, hit a tree near Flint, NY, seven miles east of Geneva, and burned to death. The important thing is his art while he lived. ~ Charles A. Ralston

Dave Lambert: Age 49
AKA Dave Alden Lambert
(Born: June 19, 1917 in Boston, MA; Died: Oct. 3, 1966 in Westport, CT)
Best-known for being the "Lambert" in the premiere jazz vocal group Lambert, Hendricks and Ross, Dave Lambert was already a veteran singer when that ensemble was formed in 1957. Originally a drummer, Lambert sang with Johnny Long's big band for a year. He was with Gene Krupa's Orchestra (1944-45) and when he sang "What's This" with Buddy Stewart, it was considered the first vocal version of a bop line... He appeared with Charlie Parker on a Royal Roost broadcast (1949) and his singers backed Bird on his 1953 recordings of "Old Folks" and "In the Still of the Night"; renditions that are somewhat bizarre... After Lambert, Hendricks & Ross became popular in 1957, that group dominated his activities...He stayed with the ensemble after it became Lambert, Hendricks & Bavan in 1962 (when Annie Ross was succeeded by Yolande Bavan) until its breakup in 1964. The warm-voiced singer's last recording was a scat-filled version of "Donna Lee" performed at a 1965 Charlie Parker memorial concert. Dave Lambert died tragically in 1966, hit by a car while changing a tire. -- Scott Yanow, All Music Guide

Meade Lux Lewis: Age 58
(b. 4 September 1905, Chicago, IL, d. 7 June 1964).
Although he was popular in Chicago bars in the '20s, Lewis was little known elsewhere and made his living running a taxicab firm with fellow-pianist Albert Ammons. Encouraged by John Hammond and the enormous success of Honky Tonk Train Blues, which he re-recorded in 1936 (and later), Lewis became one of the most popular and successful of the pianists to enjoy fleeting fame during the boogie-woogie craze. With Ammons and Pete Johnson, billed as the Boogie Woogie Trio, he played at Hammond's Carnegie Hall ‘Spirituals to Swing’ concert and at many top New York clubs. Meade died following a road accident in 1964.

Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes: Age 30
(Born: Died: 25 April 2002, Honduras)
ATLANTA (AP) - Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, the effervescent, sometimes volatile rapping member of the Grammy-winning trio TLC, was killed in a car crash in Honduras, her record company said early Friday. Lopes, who would have turned 31 next month, was in the Central American nation for a vacation, Arista Records' senior vice president of publicity Laura Swanson told The Associated Press. Lopes was reportedly among seven people in the car Thursday night and the only fatality...The location of the car crash was not immediately determined. It was unclear whether she was wearing a seatbelt...TLC, which also includes Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins and Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas, were the group behind such hits as "Waterfall," "No Scrubs" and "Unpretty." Their latest album was "FanMail." Lopes' nickname came from her habit of replacing one lens of her glasses with a condom during performances. In 1994, the band returned with "CrazySexyCool" — Lopes was dubbed the "crazy" member of the group...In 1994, Lopes pleaded guilty to arson in a fire that destroyed the mansion of former Atlanta Falcons receiver Andre Rison, her boyfriend. Lopes was sentenced to a halfway house and five years probation, plus a $10,000 fine. Lopes admitted she started the fire after an argument with Rison. The mansion was valued at more than $1 million. The two later broke up, only to reunite and break up again. However, last year they announced plans to marry...Swanson said that Lopes went frequently to Honduras to vacation. "She just found it really peaceful and tranquil, and it was a very special place for her," she said.
Now & Forever
New Book: Lisa Lopes: The Life of a Supernova by Nancy Krulik

Ira Loudermilk (Louvin): Age 40
The Louvin Brothers ---- CDNOW Discography
(b. 21 April 1924, d. 20 June 1965). Another tribute site
Ira took up the mandolin and Charlie the guitar and they created perfect harmonies for country and gospel music, inspired, in particular, by the Blue Sky Boys. In 1943, after winning a talent contest in Chattanooga, they began broadcasting regularly, leading to three shows a day for WMPS in Memphis. They crossed over to the country market with their own composition When I Stop Dreaming, which is now a standard. The Louvin Brothers broke up officially in August, 1963... following the recording of their last album, "Thank God for My Christian Home". Ira started his solo career with Yodel Sweet Molly but he was shot 3 times in the back and badly injured by his 3rd wife, Faye, whom he then divorced. He then married Florence, who sang on his shows as Anne Young, but soon afterwards they both perished in Jefferson City, Missouri on 20 June 1965. Driving home from a performance, Ira's car was struck in a head-on collision. ~Encyclopedia of Popular Music Copyright Muze UK Ltd. 1989 - 1998
The song "Yodel Sweet Molly" was recorded in March, 1965, and not released until August 1965, two months following Louvin's death. Bill Monroe was on tour when Ira died, and he cancelled an engagement to return to Nashville to sing "Where No One Stands Alone" at Ira's funeral. ~ K.F. Raizor (See authoritative book on Louvins: B&N / In Close Harmony)

Polo Montañez: Age 47
born: Fernando Borrego, Died: November 25, 2002
HAVANA, Nov. 27 (AP) — The Cuban singer Polo Montañez, whose country-style music was hugely popular throughout Latin America, died on Tuesday night from head injuries suffered in a car crash, his recording company said today. He was 47. A spokesman for Lusafrica, the record company, said Mr. Montañez died at a military hospital here. He had been in a coma after suffering severe injuries in the accident, which occurred on Nov. 20. He was driving a group of relatives home from a family party when his car collided with a tractor-trailer on a highway outside here. His stepson, Mirel González García, 25, was killed, and Mr. Montañez's wife, Adis García, was injured. Mr. Montañez, whose real name was Fernando Borrego, came from a humble, provincial background to become a musical hit three years ago. He described his song "Guarijo Natural," which topped the charts in Latin America, as a "self-portrait" of a simple country boy who falls in love and enjoys life. Mr. Montañez's success began in Colombia in the late 1990's. Later he toured Latin America, where he gained a huge following, and Europe.

Rushton Moreve: Age 33.
died July 1, 1981.
Auto accident.

Criss Oliva: Age 30
(April 3, 1963 - October 17, 1993)
Savatage formed in Florida in 1978 as Avatar, led by brothers Jon (vocals) and Criss (guitar) Oliva. They changed their name to Savatage in 1983, pursuing a strongly Judas Priest- and Iron Maiden- influenced style of metal. Their other members included Steve "Doc" Wacholz (drums) and Keith Collins (bass), who was later replaced by Johnny Lee Middleton. They meandered between basic metal and more commercial fare before adding second guitarist Chris Caffery and hitting their stride in 1990 with Gutter Ballet. The band showed a flair for intense, melodic hard rock, dramatic balladry, and elaborate, operatic concepts, which they pursued over their next few albums. Criss Oliva was killed in an auto accident in 1993; he was replaced by former Testament guitarist Alex Skolnick, but the new lineup was ill-received. Dead Winter Dead followed in 1995, and after a three-year absence Savatage returned with The Wake of Magellan. The Final Bell appeared in 1999. -- Steve Huey, All-Music Guide October 17th, Criss and his wife Dawn were driving to Livestock Music festival in Florida when a drunk driver crossed the center line and hit Criss head on. Criss was killed instantly, Dawn narrowly surived the crash. Criss' gravesite is located in Palm Harbor, Florida.~Savatage site

Tommy Perkins, 69
Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys
Born: Died: 7 June 2003
Oklahoma City - Tommy Perkins, former drummer for Bob Wills, died Saturday from injuries suffered in a car accident while he was driving home from a festival celebrating the "King of Western Swing." He was 69. Perkins died in Cotton County after he drove off the H.E. Bailey Turnpike into an embankment. He was not wearing a seat belt, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol said. Perkins, who lived in Oklahoma City, was returning from the 16th annual Legends of Western Swing Music Festival in Wichita Falls, Texas, where he had performed Friday night. Perkins' performances with Wills included the April 27, 1950, recording of "Faded Love," made when the drummer was just 15 years old. ~ AP Tommy died on Saturday morning June 7,2003 as a result of a heart attack while driving home from Wichita Falls, Texas, where he had played two sessions with the Bob Wills' Texas Playboys on Friday at the Legends of Western Swing weekend. He had told some of his friends he was not feeling well, and had decided to spend Friday night in Wichita Falls before going home. He is and will forever be greatly missed both in our hearts and in the Western Swing community. ~

"Marvin Pontiac": Age 45
b. 1932, d. June 1977
Marvin Pontiac was hit and killed by a bus in June 1977 ending the life of one of the most enigmatic geniuses of modern music. He was born in 1932, the son of an African father from Mali and a white Jewish mother from New Rochelle, New York...When his mother was institutionalized in 1936, the father returned and brought the young boy to Bamako, Mali where Marvin was raised until he was fifteen...At fifteen Marvin moved by himself to Chicago where he became versed in playing blues harmonica... In 1952, he had a minor hit for Acorn Records with the then controversial song "I'm a Doggy."... Although, approached by other labels, Marvin refused to record for anyone unless the owner of the label came to his home in Slidell, La and mowed his lawn...In 1970 Marvin believed that he was abducted by aliens. He felt his mother had had a similar unsettling experience, which had led to her breakdown. He stopped playing music and dedicated all of his time and energy to amicably contacting these creatures who had previously probed his body so brutally. When he was arrested for riding a bicycle naked down the side streets of Slidell, La, it provided a sad but clear view of Marvin's coming years. In 1971 he moved back to Detroit where he drifted forever and permanently into insanity. ~Strange and Beautiful
Richie Powell: see Clifford Brown for now.

Dave Prater: Age 50
Sam and Dave
(Born: May 9, 1937 Ocilla, GA. Died: Syracuse, GA, April 9, 1988)
Dave Prater, one-half of the soul duo Sam and Dave. Prater died in a car crash in Georgia. He was 50. Prater met partner Sam Moore in Miami in 1958. Sam and Dave's Memphis-style soul was popular throughout the 1960's on such hits as "Hold On I'm Comin'" and "Soul Man," which won a Grammy Award. The duo, never on the best of terms, broke up in 1981. Sam and Dave gained renewed popularity in 1978 when the Blues Brothers, John Belushi and Dan Ackroyd, revived "Soul Man". Prater then reformed the duo with a new partner, Sam Daniels.

David Proch: Age 44
The Skyliners
(d. Oct 19, 1998, outside of Pittsburg, PA)
David Proch, a singer who became the third person to sing first tenor for the group the Skyliners, died Monday in a car accident. He was 44. His car collided with a truck hauling asphalt on U.S. Route 30 near Ligonier, about 45 miles east of Pittsburgh. Proch was singing with another group when the Skyliners came to hear him sing in 1993. At first listen, the Skyliners' original lead singer, Jimmy Beaumont, invited him to join the group.

John Morris Rankin: Age 40
Rankin Family
(Died: January 16, 2000; Whale Cove, Nova Scotia)
Whale Cove - Road salt may have been a factor in the death [Jan. 16th, 2000] of musician John Morris Rankin. Salt spilled by a provincial Transportation Department truck left a large, unexpected bump on Route 219 moments before the internationally known Celtic musician and member of the Rankins approached in his sports utility vehicle. Mr. Rankin was on his way to Cheticamp to attend a hockey tournament. "There was certainly a mound or pile of salt . . . and from talking to our staff, this seemed to be a little bigger ... (than) the ordinary," department spokesman Chris Welner said. The mound, less than a third of a metre high and as wide as a single lane, created a speed bump in the 80 km/h zone. It's believed Mr. Rankin swerved to avoid the bump, then lost control of the truck, which plunged over a 25-metre cliff into the Atlantic Ocean near Margaree Harbour...No autopsy will be performed. Police cannot say whether he died from injuries suffered in the crash or drowned. Read more ~By Tera Camus / Cape Breton Bureau

Razzle: Age 21
Hanoi Rocks
(b. Nicholas Dingley, 2 December 1963, Isle Of Wight, England, d. 7 December 1984).
This Finnish heavy rock band were distinguished by their leaning towards '70s glam rock, which they carried off with more style and conviction than any of their peers. The band traveled to London where they began recording ORIENTAL BEAT. Soon after it was finished Casino was sacked (and joined the Road Rats) and replaced by Razzle, who had previously played with Demon Preacher and the Dark. They hit the UK charts for the first and only time in 1984 with a cover version of Creedence Clearwater Revival's Up Around The Bend, but the year ended in tragedy. The band were in the US when Razzle was killed in a car crash on 7 December. The car driver—Vince Neil of Mötley Crüe—was later found guilty of Vehicular Manslaughter. However, Monroe never really accepted the loss of Razzle and in early 1985 he told the band he intended to quit. Hanoi Rocks played their final gig in May 1985.

Sweetpea Robinson: Age
"...The two altos trade licks on Sippin' with Cisco, and one gets an idea of how Eric's sound developed and relates to Sweetpea Robinson, who Roy Porter once told me was a fantastic player but who died young, I believe in an auto accident. Simosko swears it is Dolphy on the Wig tunes. Roy Porter now has an autobiography out in which he agrees with Simosko."~

Bessie Smith: Age 43
(b. 15 April 1894, Chattanooga, TN, d. 26 September 1937).
In her childhood, Smith sang on street corners before joining a touring black minstrel show as a dancer. Also in the show was Ma Rainey and before long the young newcomer was also singing the blues. By 1920 Smith was headlining a touring show and was well on the way to becoming the finest singer of the blues the USA would ever hear. On the night of September 26, 1937, after appearing at a juke joint in Sunflower County, Mississippi, Smith and her fiance Richard Morgan were driving to Memphis from where they would embark for New York, when their car was struck head-on by a truck. Morgan suffered only minor injuries but Smith's right arm was nearly severed and she was bleeding profusely. Though it has never been proven conclusively, legend has it that Smith was denied treatment from several "whites only" hospitals in the Delta before arriving at a "colored's only" hospital in Clarksdale, Mississippi. But by the time she arrived it was too late for she had died from loss of blood. Most blues historians affirm this account of Smith's death to be accurate, though some state that she actually died at the scene of the crash or shortly thereafter.

Red Sovine: Age 61
(b. Woodrow Wilson Sovine, 17 July 1918, Charleston, West Virginia, d. 4 April 1980).
Sovine acquired the nickname of The Old Syrup Sopper following the sponsorship by Johnny Fair Syrup of some radio shows, and the title is apt for such narrations as Daddy's Girl. From 1954 Sovine was a regular at GRAND OLE OPRY and, in all, he had 31 US country chart entries. He particularly scored with maudlin narrations about truckdrivers and his successes include Giddyup Go (a US country number 1 about a truck driver being reunited with his son), Phantom 309 (a truck-driving ghost story!) and his million-selling saga of a crippled boy and his CB radio, Teddy Bear (1976). Sequels and parodies of Teddy Bear abound, Sovine refused to record Teddy Bear's Last Ride, which became a US country hit for Diana Williams. He retaliated with Little Joe to indicate that
Teddy Bear was not dead after all. In 1980 Sovine died of a heart attack at the wheel of his car in Nashville.

Calder Spanier: Age 33
(died 4 Dec 1997)
Charlie Hunter / Curvature
In addition to his work with Curvature, Calder recorded two albums for Blue
Note with the Charlie Hunter Quartet. Before this, Calder had played with Charlie on the streets of Europe at a time when both musicians were honing in on their individual sounds. In addition to the saxophone, Calder played guitar and composed many of the tunes the Quartet played, and was about to release a CD of more jazzy vocal pop tunes he had written before his tragic death on December 4, 1997. Calder was on his way back from a gig in San Francisco when his car stalled on the Bay Bridge. As he went to fill his car with gas, he was struck by on oncoming vehicle. His death is a huge loss for the Bay Area music community. Anyone who had the opportunity to catch the Charlie Hunter Quartet live could easily see he gave 120 percent to the music. --- another CS link

Billy Stewart: Age 33
(Born: Mar 24, 1937 in Washington, D.C., Died: Jan 17, 1970 in Neuse River, NC)
Billy Stewart was one of the most distinctive vocal stylists of the '60s. His stuttering, word-doubling attack owed more to jazz scat singing than to the gospel influences of many of his peers. A jovial, rotund piano player who toured with Bo Diddley and, through him, gained entry to Chess Records, Stewart scored biggest in 1966 with a smash Top Ten version of George Gershwin and Dubose Heyward's "Summertime," an atypically (for Chess) big-band arrangement (featuring Earth, Wind & Fire's Maurice White on drums) with Stewart in a vocal tour de force, masterfully scatting around, stuttering through, and generally turning the melody inside out. It was not your typical '60s soul music, but Stewart's success opened the door for other jazz-influenced singers like Georgie Fame to gain a place on radio playlists of the day. Stewart died tragically at age 33 in a 1970 auto accident. -- Christine Ohlman, All-Music Guide Billy Stewart's Band --- Experiencing brake problems, the new car in which Stewart and the group were riding struck a bridge abutment and plunged into a river. ~

Lynn Strait: Age 30
b. 1968 d. December 11, 1998.
Though some details are still unknown, according to Sean Henning, the band's co-manager, Strait was exiting the 101 freeway between his hometown of Santa Barbara and Carpinteria when his Ford Tempo collided with a truck at approximately 1 p.m. The ensuing three-vehicle crash resulted in the death of Strait. Also killed was Strait's dog, Dobbs, who fans know from his appearance on the cover of Snot's Geffen debut album Get Some (May 1997) and who became the band's mascot and symbol.

Frank Teschemacher: Age 25
(b. Mar 13, 1906 in Kansas City, MO, d. Feb 29, 1932 in Chicago, IL)
Frank Teschemacher was a member of the Austin High Gang, a group of young White jazz musicians in Chicago in the 1920s. Teschemacher made his recording debut in 1927 with the McKenzie-Condon Chicagoans and has a very hot clarinet solo on "Nobody's Sweetheart". He was a multi-talented musician who played clarinet, violin, banjo, and alto sax. Teschemacher recorded in Chicago on a variety of sessions in 1927, then moved to New York in 1928, where he played with Ben Pollack, Sam Lanin and Red Nichols and then returned to Chicago the following year....On the blustery evening of February 29, 1932 Tesch invited Wild Bill Davison to spend the night at his apartment to prepare for a band rehearsal the following day. They took Davidson's Packard Phaeton convertible and made a few stops on the way, one of which was in the company of drummer George Wettling at bandleader Charlie Straight's speakeasy. At about 2:00 am Davison was northbound on Magnolia Avenue in the city's Uptown neighborhood approaching Wilson Avenue with the Packard's top down. Tesch was hunched down against the wind and cold in the front seat with his hands thrust deeply into the pockets of a heavy overcoat. As Davison began to cross Wilson Avenue, his car was struck broadside by a Yellow Cab traveling on Wilson Avenue with its headlights off. The Packard was spun into a tree and both occupants were thrown over the windshield. Tesch struck his head on the concrete curb, suffering a very severe skull fracture. He was transported to Ravenswood Hospital (about a mile west of the accident site) where he died four hours later. The doctors believed that Tesch's chances for survival would have been much improved had his hands been free to protect his head. Although Davison was briefly detained by the police, a coroner's inquest absolved both him and the cab driver of negligence. Still, the accident weighed heavily upon Davison and caused him to leave Chicago for several years. Frank Teschemacher was interred at Woodlawn Cemetery in Forest Park, IL (not far from Austin High School) just ten days short of his twenty-sixth birthday and with his ex-wife, Helen, in attendance. His pallbearers included bandleader Floyd Town, drummer George Wettling and pianist Jess Stacy. ~Red Hot Jazz

Dottie West: Age 58
(b. Dorothy Marie Marsh, 11 October 1932, McMinnville, Tennessee, d. 4 September 1991).
In 1962, at the recommendation of Jim Reeves, Chet Atkins signed her to RCA Records. Her first US country chart hit Let Me Off At The Corner was in 1963, the same year that the first song she wrote, Is This Me, became a number 3 country hit for Jim Reeves. A country Top 10 solo hit of her own song Here Comes My Baby followed, which so successfully launched her career that between 1964-84, she charted a further 60 US country hits. The following year the song made her the first female country singer to win a Grammy. She has won many solo awards and in 1978 and 1979 she and Kenny Rogers were voted the Country Music Association Vocal Duo of the Year. She appeared in two films Second Fiddle To An Old Guitar and There's A Still On The Hill, and has played the Grand Ole Opry regularly since first becoming a member in 1964. On Friday 30 August 1991, due to problems with her own car, she asked an 81-year-old neighbour to drive her to the Opry for her scheduled appearance. His car crashed at high speed when it left the ramp to the Opry car park, vaulted in the air and hit the central division. Both occupants were rushed to the Vanderbilt Medical Centre in a critical condition. Dottie West suffered a severe rupture of the liver and, in spite of several operations, surgeons could not control the bleeding. Although fully aware of the extent of her injuries, she was unable to speak and sadly died a few days later on 4 September.

Clarence White: Age 29
Byrds/ Kentucky Colonels
(b. 7 June 1944, Lewiston, Maine, d. 14 July 1973, Palmdale, CA).
White started playing acoustic guitar and singing in a bluegrass group with his brothers when only 10 years old, and the group materialized into the Kentucky Colonels in 1961. After leaving the Kentucky Colonels, he switched to electric guitar and became a session musician, playing on albums by Randy Newman and Linda Ronstadt. White joined Nashville West in 1968, and then the Byrds. The Byrds flew the coop in 1973 and White reformed the Kentucky Colonels to play Los Angeles clubs and also to tour Europe. He worked on albums by Maria Muldaur and Gene Parsons and also began his solo album, although only four tracks were recorded. He was knocked down and killed by a drunk driver while loading equipment into his car after a show on 14 July 1973. What there is of his solo album was included on the compilation on Sierra Briar Records, Silver Meteor.

Meri Wilson: Age 53
(Born: Died: December 28, 2002 in Sumpter County, Georgia, USA)
A 1970's pop star and Americus arts supporter died in a car accident Saturday night. Fifty-three-year-old Meri Wilson Edgemon was killed after she lost control of her car on Highway 377 in Sumter County. In 1976, she had a platinum record hit with her song "Telephone Man." She stayed active in the arts all her life, and was current president of the Americus Arts Council and the Civic Chorus. Edgemon had just arranged and directed the music for the "Cotton Patch Gospel" performance at the Rylander Theatre, receiving a state award for the project. A national award is pending.

Aaliyah: Age 22
(born: Aaliyah Haughton, New York 16 January 1979; died Marsh Harbour, the Bahamas 25 August 2001) ,
Aaliyah was at the forefront of the Nineties' mainstream acceptance of R&B which now sees acts like Destiny's Child and 3LW go straight into the US and UK pop charts. A teen idol who scored her first transatlantic hit with "Back and Forth" in 1994 at the age of 15 and remained a chart presence for the next seven years, she went on to model for the fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger and made her acting début last year opposite the Chinese martial arts legend Jet Li in the film Romeo Must Die... The rhythm 'n' blues singer was killed in a plane crash after a video shoot in the Bahamas. She was 22.
NASSAU, Bahamas (CNN) -- The small aircraft that crashed...on the island of Abaco, killing singer Aaliyah and eight others, was overloaded by hundreds of pounds, officials said Thursday. The extra weight -- and the way in which it was distributed -- most likely contributed to the plane's crash shortly after takeoff, said John Frank, executive director of the Cessna Pilots' Association...Immediately after the crash Saturday at Marsh Harbour airport, airport employees told CNN that baggage handlers and the pilot of the Cessna 402 had complained before takeoff that the aircraft was overloaded with luggage, but the passengers insisted on taking everything with them. Aaliyah (Limited Edition)
Books: Aaliyah: An R&B Princess in Words and Pictures by Kelly Kenyatta
Aaliyah: More Than a Woman by Christopher John Farley
Aaliyah by Tim Footman

The Bar-Kays':
Jimmy King(b.1949; guitar), Ronnie Caldwell (b. 1948; organ), Phalin Jones (b. 1949; saxophone),

and Carl Cunningham (b. 1949; drums).
The Bar-Kays were employed as Otis Redding's backing group on tour, and the tragic plane crash in 1967, which took his life, also claimed King, Caldwell, Jones and Cunningham. James Alexander, who fortuitously missed the flight, put a new line-up together with Ben Cauley, the sole survivor of the accident.

Big Bopper: Age 29
(b. Jape Perry Richardson, 24 October 1930, Sabine Pass, Texas, USA, d.3 February 1959).
After working as a disc jockey in Beaumont, Richardson won a recording contract with Mercury, releasing two unsuccessful singles in 1957. The following year, under his radio monicker The Big Bopper, he recorded the ebullient Chantilly Lace, a rock ‘n’ roll classic, complete with blaring saxophone and an insistent guitar run. Backed with the satiric The Purple People Eater Meets The Witch Doctor, the disc was a transatlantic hit. The follow up, Big Bopper's Wedding underlined the singer's love of novelty and proved popular enough to win him a place on a tour with Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens. On 3 February 1959, a plane carrying the three stars crashed, leaving no survivors.

David Box: Age 22
(b. Harold David Box, Sulphur Springs on 11 August 1943; d. 23 October 1964)
After the death of Buddy Holly, the Crickets used various lead singers on their records. One was David Box who sang lead on the Crickets' recording of "Peggy Sue Got Married"...The song was among the last Cricket singles to be issued on Coral - and one of the very best released after Buddy died...David also worked with local band Buddy and the Kings. Buddy Groves vocal/guitar, Carl Banks bass and Bill Daniels presumably on drums. Daniels was a qualified pilot and the quartet hired a Cesna Skyhawk 172 to take them to a gig in Harris County on . The plane crashed nose first and overturned on the return flight. There were no survivers.

Stephen Canaday: Age 55
Ozark Mountain Daredevils
Former Ozark Mountain Daredevils member Stephen Canaday was killed Saturday (Sept. 25, 1999)
when the vintage airplane in which he was riding crashed into a vacant house in Nashville. Witnesses to the crash attempted to perform CPR and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on Canaday, 55, but he died en route to a local hospital. Canaday’s companion in the plane, computer/software programmer Rick Loudermilk, 52, was pronounced dead at the scene. Investigating officials could not immediately determine the cause of the crash but said Canaday may have been shooting low-level aerial photographs from the North American SNJ-5, a single-engine training plane from the World War II era... Canaday, 55, joined the Ozark Mountain Daredevils in 1977. More recently, he had worked at a Nashville photographic-supply store and as a tour manager for country singer Lee Roy Parnell and Nashville folk-rocker Marshall Chapman. -- Brian Mansfield

Bill Chase: Age 39
(b. 1935; d. 9 August 1974, Jackson, MN)
In 1974, Chase chartered a plane to take him and three band members to a performance in Jackson, MN. The weather was bad with a low ceiling, and the airport in Jackson had little communications equipment. The plane went down, but was not found until the next day. There were no survivors. - Dick Cooper Chase's entire band lost their lives: (BILL CHASE, JOHN EMMA, WALLY YOHN and WALTER CLARK).

Patsy Cline: Age 30
(b. Virginia Patterson Hensley, 8 September 1932, Gore, near Winchester, Virginia, d. 5 March 1963).
Patsy's manager, Randy Hughes, was the son-in-law of Cowboy Copas. In 1963 Randy flew Patsy to Kansas City for a benefit for the widow of a country disc jockey who had died in a car crash. The return journey was hampered by storms and poor visibility. On 5 March 1963 Patsy Cline, Cowboy Copas, Hawkshaw Hawkins and Randy Hughes were killed when their plane crashed in swamped woodlands in Camden, Tennessee, 85 miles from Nashville. Identification was difficult as only Patsy's shoulders, the back of her head and right arm were in one recognizable piece. Another country star, Jack Anglin, of the duo Johnny And Jack, was killed on the way to her funeral. Patsy's single at the time of her death was, ironically, Leavin' On Your Mind.
Link to: Patsy Cline: Original Keys for Singers: Piano/Vocal: (Sheet Music)

Cowboy Copas: Age 49
(b. Lloyd Estel Copas, 15 July 1913, near Muskogee, Oklahoma, USA, d. 5 March 1963).
Copas was raised on a small ranch and taught himself the fiddle and guitar before he was 10 years old. His son-in-law, Randy Hughes, also managed Patsy Cline and all three were killed, along with Hawkshaw Hawkins, in a plane crash on 5 March 1963. A few weeks later, Copas had a posthumous country hit with a record ironically entitled Goodbye Kisses.

Jim Croce: Age 30
(b. 10 January 1943, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, d. 20 September 1973).
Originally a university disc jockey, Croce played in various rock bands before moving to New York in 1967 where he performed in folk clubs. By 1969, he and his wife, Ingrid, were signed to Capitol Records for APPROACHING DAY. The album's failure led to Croce returning to Pennsylvania and taking on work as a truck driver and telephone engineer. Meanwhile, he continued with songwriting and, after sending demo tapes to former college friend and New York record producer, Tommy West, Croce secured a new deal with the ABC label. Croce's second album, YOU DON'T MESS AROUND WITH JIM, provided him with a US Top 10 hit in the title track and, along with Operator (That's Not The Way It Feels) helped establish Croce as a songwriter of distinction. In July 1973, he topped the US charts with the narrative Bad Bad Leroy Brown. Exactly two months later, he died in a plane crash at Natchitoches, Louisiana. when the chartered Beechcraft D-18 snagged the top of a pecan tree during take-off. link to buy: Jim Croce Complete

John Denver: Age 53
(b. Henry John Deutschendorf Jr., 31 December 1943, Roswell, NM,
d.12 October 1997, CA).
One of America's most popular performers during the '70s, Denver's rise to fame began when he was ‘discovered’ in a Los Angeles night club. He initially joined the Back Porch Majority, a nursery group for the renowned New Christy Minstrels but, tiring of his role there, left for the Chad Mitchell Trio where he forged a reputation as a talented songwriter. One of his compositions, Leaving On A Jet Plane, provided an international hit for Peter, Paul And Mary, and this evocative song was the highlight of Denver's debut album, RHYMES AND REASONS. He continued to enjoy a high profile throughout the rest of the decade and forged a concurrent acting career with his role in the film comedy OH, GOD with George Burns. However, although Denver became an unofficial musical ambassador with tours to Russia and China, his recording became less prolific as increasingly he devoted time to charitable work and ecological interests. A San Francisco television station reported that Denver may have crashed while trying to switch from one fuel tank to another. Both tanks were empty, KRON reported. Denver was killed instantly in the crash of the Long-EZ experimental airplane he was piloting on October 12 , in Monterey Bay shortly after take off. Denver, an experienced pilot, had taken delivery of the Y-shaped, futuristic looking plane just a day before the crash. link to: John Denver Books

Jane Dornacker: Age 39
(b. 10/1/47, d. 10/22/86, NYC, NY)
Jane sang with the Tubes (wrote and sang their quasi-hit "Don't Touch Me There"), and the performance-art group Leila and the Snakes (late '70s San Francisco - also featuring Pearl Harbor of Explosions fame)... well regarded standup comedienne, played Nurse Murch in the movie "The Right Stuff," mostly SF Bay Area centered but moved to New York City in the early '80s to do radio. She was killed in a helicopter crash over the Hudson River while doing a live traffic report. An audio clip of the broadcast is available at ~Evan Hulka

Carlos Gardel: Age 44
(Born in France 11 December 1890; Died: 24 June 1935)
Buy Gardel music here Carlos Gardel arrived in Buenos Aires at the age of two. As a young man he became known in the clubs and cafés of the barrios (districts) in Buenos Aires, establishing a famous folk singing duo with José Razzano. But it was in the 1920s, when he began to specialize in tango singing, that he rose to extraordinary fame...[Gardel was one of 17 killed when two Ford Tri Motor airplanes collided in midair over Medellin, Columbia. ~John Kremer] An orgy of grief swept from New York to Puerto Rico, and a woman in Havana suicided. Hordes of people thronged to pay their respects as the singer's body made the journey to its final resting place in a Buenos Aires cemetery, traveling via Colombia, New York and Rio de Janeiro. Instantly immortal and preserved forever young, his enduring fame is measured by the oft heard Argentine expression 'Gardel sings better every day'. Sixty years after his death, a devoted following keeps the legend blazing, playing Gardel's music daily, placing a lit cigarette in the hand of the life-sized statue which graces his tomb and keeping his few films in circulation. ~Lizandro Llancafilo

Bill Graham: Age 60
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 October 25, 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 honor, headlined by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Santana, Aaron Neville and comedian Robin Williams. At the time of his death, Graham was 60 years old. -- Jason Ankeny, All-Music Guide. To buy Bill Graham Presents: My Life inside Rock and Out

Hawkshaw Hawkins: Age 41
(b. Harold Franklin Hawkins, 22 December 1921, Huntingdon, West VA, d. 5 March 1963).
In 1942, he performed on radio in Manila when stationed in the Phillippines. After his discharge, he signed with King Records and did well with Sunny Side Of The Mountain, which became his signature tune. In 1948 he became one of the first country artists to appear on network television. He had US country hits with Pan American, I Love You A Thousand Ways, I'm Just Waiting For You and Slow Poke In 1963 Hawkins released his best-known recording, Justin Tubb's song Lonesome 7-7203. The song entered the US country charts three days before Hawkins died on 5 March 1963 in a plane crash which also claimed Patsy Cline and Cowboy Copas. Lonesome 7-7203 was his only number 1 record in the US country charts. His wife, country singer Jean Shepard, was pregnant at the time and their son was named Harold Franklin Hawkins II in his memory. Barnes and Noble on Hawkins

Buddy Holly: Age 22
(Charles Hardin Holley, 7 September 1936, Lubbock, Texas, d. 3 February 1959).
Holly was one of the first major rock ‘n’ roll groundbreakers, and one of its most influential artists. Holly was an initial inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. On the afternoon of 1 February his tour played in Green Bay, Wisconsin but an evening show was cancelled owing to bad weather. The 2 February date at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa went ahead. It was following this show that Holly, Valens and the Big Bopper chartered a small plane to take them to the next date in Moorhead, Minnesota, rather than travel on the tour bus, which had a defective heater and had previously broken down several times. Owing to the snowy weather the plane crashed minutes after takeoff, killing all three stars and the pilot. (The tour actually continued after their deaths, with Bobby Vee, Jimmy Clanton and Frankie Avalon filling in). Death certificate / C.A.B. Accident Investigation Report Front page of newspaper for sale / To read more link to:
Remembering Buddy: The Definitive Biography of Buddy Holly by John Goldrosen, John Beecher (Contributor)
Behind the Music: The Day the Music Died by Martin Huxley, Quinton Skinner --(Buddy Holly book)
The Day the Music Died: The Last Tour of Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens --by Larry Lehmer

Walter Hyatt: Age 46
Uncle Walt's Band
(B. 1950 , D. May 11, 1996)
Former Austinite Hyatt was one of the unfortunate souls aboard the Valujet flight that crashed into the Everglades. The 46 year-old singer-songwriter, who had been living in Nashville since the mid-'80s, was best known as the titular center of Uncle Walt's Band, the early '70s combo featuring Hyatt, Champ Hood and David Ball. Hyatt was an inspiration to, among others, Lyle Lovett, who returned the favor in 1989 by producing Hyatt's "King Tears" album for MCA. Hyatt's most recent album, "Music Town," is on Sugar Hill Records; proceeds from the sale of that record (as well as two Uncle Walt's Band reissues) will benefit Hyatt's wife and three daughters. Donations in his memory should be sent to the Second Presbyterian Church, c/o Hyatt Family Fund, 3511 Belmont Blvd., Nashville, TN 37215. ~By Jason Cohen

Lynyrd Skynyrd
Ronnie Van Zant:
(d. 20 October 1977)
With their tally of gold discs increasing each year and a series of sell-out tours, the band suffered an irrevocable setback in late 1977. On 20 October, Van Zant, Steve Gaines, his sister and backup singer, Cassie and manager Dean Kilpatrick were killed in a plane crash en route from Greenville, South Carolina to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (The twin-engine Convair 240 plane short of fuel crashed into a swamp in Gillsburg, MS). Gary Rossington, Allen Collins, Billy Powell and Leon Wilkenson were all seriously injured but eventually recovered. That same month, Lynyrd Skynyrd's new album STREET SURVIVORS was withdrawn as the sleeve featured a macabre design of the band surrounded by flames. To read more link to: Lynyrd Skynyrd: An Oral History

Dino Martin: Age 35
(Born: July 20, 1953 in Encino, CA ,Died: March 21, 1987 in Mount San Gorgonio, CA)
Entertainer Dean Martin's son Dino Martin, who as member of '60s pop group Dino, Desi and Billy had a hit called "I'm a Fool," killed in the crash [while flying] an Air National Guard [Phantom Fighter] jet in California's San Bernardino Mountains. ~Washington Post

Glenn Miller: Age 40
(Born: Mar 1, 1904 in Clarinda, IA, Died: Dec 15, 1944 in English Channel)
Only Glenn Miller's decision to enlist in the Army stopped his orchestra's success. He did the near-impossible and organized the finest military jazz band ever heard, his Army Air Force Band. By 1944, when it had relocated to London, it featured clarinetist Peanuts Hucko, pianist Mel Powell, drummer/singer Ray McKinley, trumpeter Bobby Nichols and sometimes a string section and a vocal group. Their version of "St. Louis Blues March" became famous and this group's broadcasts and radio transcriptions are well worth searching for. Glenn Miller flew across the English Channel in December 1944 with plans of setting up engagements on the Continent. His plane was shot down (quite possibly in error by the Allies) and lost. ~AMG or December 15, 1944 a cold, wet and foggy afternoon, Glenn Miller departed an RAF-Base, in England in a Norseman C-64 aircraft. The flight was to take Glenn Miller and other passengers to Paris. However, the flight never made it. It is believed the aircraft encountered icing conditions over the English Channel and crashed. Glenn Miller and his band had been performing for Allied Troops prior to the crash and was planning on putting on a show in Paris, France.

Grace Moore: Age 46
(born:5 Dec. 1901; died 26 Jan. 1947) Photo of Grace
Grace Moore was a figure out of another era, almost a geological age's distance, in popular entertainment-an opera singer who found success on the silver screen and even charted some hit records. Her story is also one of the most compelling tales of success, defeat, redemption, and tragedy in the history of American entertainment. Born to the family of a travelling salesman (and later department store owner) in Tennessee, she developed a love of music, and, fueled by a magnificent voice, bluffed her way onto the Broadway stage. From an eventual star's berth at the Met, she jumped to motion pictures with the advent of the talkies, was destroyed at one studio by the pressures for success and then rescued, and given a whole second career on screen and the concert stage by the politics at another studio, only to die in an air crash a decade later.~Bruce Eder AMG Copenhagen, Denmark, on January 26, 1947, Grace Moore boarded a KLM DC3 to fly to Stockholm. The aircraft taxied out to the runway and was cleared to takeoff. The aircraft rotated and climbed to an altitude of about 150 feet. The aircraft stalled, crashed to the ground and exploded. On the evening before her death, Grace Moore had sung to a packed audience of more than 4000

Rick Nelson: Age 45
(b. Eric Hilliard Nelson, 8 May 1940, Teaneck, New Jersey, d. 31 December 1985, De Kalb, Texas).
One of his greatest moments as a pop singer occurred in the spring of 1961 when he issued the million-selling Travelin Man’ backed with the exuberant Gene Pitney composition Hello Mary Lou. Shortly after the single topped the US charts, Nelson celebrated his 21st birthday and announced that he was changing his performing name from Ricky to Rick. A performance at Madison Square Garden in late 1971 underlined Nelson's difficulties at the time. Although he had recently issued the accomplished RICK SINGS NELSON, on which he wrote every track, the audience were clearly more interested in hearing his early '60s hits. Nelson responded by composing the sarcastic Garden Party, which reaffirmed his determination to go his own way. The single, ironically, went on to sell a million and was his last hit record. On 31 December 1985, a chartered plane carrying him to a concert date in Dallas caught fire and crashed near De Kalb, Texas. To buy the out of print: Teenage Idol Travellin' Man The Complete Biography of Rick Nelson by Bashe, P
Passion Fruit's:

Maria Serrano-Serrano, and Nathaly van het Ende: Age 27
(November 24, 2001)
Plane crash kills 24 in Switzerland --- By ERNST E. ABEGG - Associated Press Writer
ZURICH, Switzerland (AP) - Workers combing through a muddy wood found the flight recorders from a Swiss airliner that crashed near Zurich, killing at least 10 people and leaving 14 others missing and feared dead, officials said Sunday. Nine people survived, two in critical condition...Three women from a German dance-music group, Passion Fruit, were also on board and at least one was believed to have survived, Scheding said. [A pop-music trio called Passion Fruit - two Dutch women and a German woman of Spanish origin, all 27 - was also on the plane. Maria Serrano-Serrano and Nathaly van het Ende were killed, but Debby St. Marteen survived, said the band's manager, Georg Bergheim.] The plane crashed as it approached a nighttime landing strip...The runway is considered more difficult to approach than two others used previously, and the agreement with Germany allowed the use of those two runways in bad weather. Officials said the pilot did not request permission to switch runways. Rain mixed with snow was falling and visibility was poor when the Jumbolino went down just after 10 p.m. Airport officials said communication was normal until the plane suddenly disappeared from radar. The nine survivors walked from the wreckage and were met by rescue workers, said Zurich airport's chief medical officer, Remo Reichlin. Guenther said four were "well, considering the circumstances," three were in stable condition and two in critical condition.
(Spanglish Love Affairs)

Joe Dan Petty: Age 52
(Died 8 Janurary 2000, Macon, GA)
Longtime Allman Brothers Band guitar tech and former Grinderswitch bassist Joe Dan Petty was killed in a plane crash Saturday (1/8/00) near the Herbert Smart Airport in Macon, Georgia... The accident occurred about 2:45 in the afternoon after the pilot reported fuel line problems and was attempting to land the aircraft in an opening. Also aboard the plane was an unidentified second person, thought to be a friend of Joe Dan's and fellow pilot. It's not clear who was piloting the plane at the time of the accident. Joe Dan received his pilot's license about a year ago and had owned the plane for two years... Grinderswitch: Working in the commercial shadow of better-known acts, they counted as fans members of the Marshall Tucker Band and a lot of other musicians who felt they deserved a break. The group failed to emerge as much more than a top regional act and an opener for the Allmans and Charlie Daniels, among others, despite recording seven album between 1972 and 1982, first for Capricorn and later for Atlantic. -- Bruce Eder, All Music Guide

Otis Redding: Age 26
(September 1941, Dawson, Georgia, USA, d. 10 December 1967). Photo of Otis
The son of a Baptist minister, Redding assimilated gospel music during his childhood and soon became interested in jump blues and R&B. He remained something of a cult figure until 1965 and the release of the magnificent OTIS BLUE in which original material nestled beside the Rolling Stones' Satisfaction and two songs by a further mentor, Sam Cooke. Redding's version of the Temptations' My Girl then became a UK hit, while the singer's popularity was further enhanced by the visit of the Hit The Road Stax revue in 1967. A triumphant appearance at the Monterey Pop Festival suggested that Redding was about to attract an even wider following but tragedy struck on 10 December 1967. The light aircraft in which he was travelling plunged into Lake Monona, Madison, Wisconsin, killing the singer, his valet, the pilot and four members of the Bar-Kays. The wistful (Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay, a song Redding recorded just three days earlier, became his only million-seller and US pop number 1. To get the book Otis Redding: From Memphis to the Mainstream, Vol. 8

Jim Reeves: Age 40
(James Travis Reeves, b. 20 August 1923, Galloway, Texas, USA, d. 31 July 1964).
His first singing work was with Moon Mullican's band in Beaumont, Texas and he worked as an announcer and singing disc jockey at KGRI in Henderson for several years. (Reeves bought the station in 1959). In November 1952 Reeves moved to KWKH in Shreveport, where his duties included hosting the "Louisiana Hayride." A land deal took him via private plane (he was a skilled amateur pilot) to Batesville, Arkansas, on July 30, 1964, with pianist Dean Manuel. On July 30, while approaching Nashville on his return, the plane ran into a rainstorm and disappeared from radar. Outside his Brentwood home, Marty Robbins heard something crash. It took two days to find the wreckage and the bodies. To get the book:Like a Moth to a Flame: The Jim Reeves Story

Randy Rhoads: Age 25
(b. Randall William Rhoads, 6 Dec 1956, Santa Monica, CA, d. 19 March 1982).
Possibly one of the greatest hard rock guitarists America ever produced, Randy Rhoads would, had his life not been so tragically curtailed in a freak airplane accident, be talked about in the same breath as Eddie Van Halen or even Jimmy Page. Randy Rhoads was the talented heavy metal guitarist who helped put Ozzy Osbourne back on the charts in the early 1980's. Whilst en route to Florida for further live shows the tour bus made an unscheduled stop where the driver's friend had a small aeroplane. After taking up a couple of band members for a joy ride, Rhoads and a make-up girl were persuaded to enlist. The pilot, high on cocaine, seemingly aimed the aircraft at the empty tour bus and all passengers were killed. Barnes and Noble on Randy Rhoads

Stan Rogers: Age 33
(Born:November 29, 1949 in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada; Died: June 2 , 1983)
Stan Rogers came from Hamilton, Ontario, a six-foot-four poet who started out as a rock bassist before turning to folk music. With his rich voice, he used his music to call to life all of the wonder and mysticism of his native Canada. His singing is occasionally mistaken for that of Gordon Lightfoot, but it's huskier and earthier than Lightfoot's, and his repertoire -- made up of song cycles drawn from throughout Canada -- is also more tradition-oriented and more mystical. Rogers died in a fire aboard an Air Canada flight in Cincinnati, OH, in June 1983, leaving behind a half-dozen albums. -- Bruce Eder, All-Music Guide On June 2, 1983, Rogers was headed home from the Kerrville Folk Festival in Texas. A fire started in the restroom on Air Canada flight 797. It was forced to land in the Greater Cincinatti Airport. Rogers was one of 23 people who died of smoke inhalation. He was 33. ~Stephen Ide ( This article ran in The Patriot Ledger

Melanie Thornton: Age 34
La Bouche
(b. May 1967, South Carolina; died November 24, 2001, Switzerland)
ZURICH (Reuters) - U.S.-born pop singer Melanie Thornton, on tour to publicize her solo album "Ready to Fly,'' died on Saturday night in a Swiss plane crash near Zurich, police said Sunday. "It is true that Miss Thornton was on the passenger list. She is not among the survivors,'' Zurich police spokesman Karl Steiner told Reuters. Nine people survived out of the 33 aboard the Crossair jet and police said 24 were presumed dead. Melanie's latest single, "Wonderful Dream,'' is the song of a new Coca-Cola commercial and was due to be in stores starting Monday. Thornton, born in May 1967 in South Carolina, was for many years the voice of the group La Bouche with whom she had worldwide sales successes with songs such as ``Sweet Dreams,'' ''Fallin' In Love'' and ``Be My Lover.'' But their second album flopped and Thornton left the group in February 2000 for an independent career. Although born in the United States, her singing career started in Germany under the auspices of Franc Farian, who has launched many pop bands. She had arrived with just $15 in her pockets to join her sister in Germany in 1992. With her singing partner Lane McCray, she celebrated world-wide successes with La Bouche and they sold more than 10 million units and obtained gold and platinum awards in over 15 countries.

Graeme 'Shirley' Strachan: Age 49
(Born: Malvern Australia 2/1/52; Died August 29, 2001)
Australian rock legend Shirley Strachan, front man for Skyhooks has died in a helicopter accident. Graeme 'Shirley' Strachan was piloting the helicopter near Kilroy, northwest of Brisbane when the helicopter crashed into Mount Alexander at around 4pm this afternoon. The Australian music community is both saddened and shocked with the news of one of the country's great larrikans. Skyhooks earned their place in Australian rock history, releasing their debut album Living In The 70's in 1974 and immediately having 6 of the 10 tracks banned from Australian commercial radio. It sold 4x platinum, unheard of in its day... ~by Paul Cashmere

Ritchie Valens: Age 17
(b. Richard Steve Valenzuela, 13 May 1941, Los Angeles, California, USA, d. 3 February 1959, Iowa). Valens was the first major Hispanic-American rock star, the artist who popularized the classic '50s hit La Bamba. Valens also performed solo and was heard by Bob Keane of Del-Fi Records, who took him into Gold Star Studios to record several songs. (Keane also shortened the singer's name from Valenzuela to Valens and added the ‘t’ to Richie). In October 1958 the single Donna/’La Bamba’ was issued. It was actually the ballad Donna, written by Valens about his high school friend Donna Ludwig, that was, contrary to popular belief, the side of the record which was the bigger hit, reaching number 2. La Bamba, the b-side, only reached number 22 in the USA but is the more fondly-remembered song. It was on 3 February 1959 when he, Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper were killed in an airplane crash following a concert in Clear Lake, Iowa. Newspaper Story To buy the book: Ritchie Valens: The 1st Latino Rocker

Stevie Ray Vaughan: Age 35
Born: Oct 3, 1954 in Dallas, TX; Died: Aug 27, 1990 in East Troy, WI
Sure, Robert Cray had the nascent groundswell's first Top 40 hit with March 1987's "Smoking Gun" (off of Strong Persuader), but it was Vaughan who sold millions of records and had the ability to galvanize arena-sized audiences with his incendiary performances. And in the final hours of his life, it was Vaughan who--by Eric Clapton's admission-- emerged the victor in a good-ol'-fashioned cutting contest on a Wisconsin amphitheater stage, leaving the other world-class participants--Clapton, Cray, Buddy Guy, and Vaughan's brother Jimmie--all wondering to what heights he would eventually take his virtuosity. The question was answered when the helicopter carrying Vaughan to Chicago after the concert slammed into a fog-shrouded hill near the amphitheater in the wee hours of August 27, 1990. He was dead--instantly--at 35. ~by Ted Drozdowski

March 16, 1991: Seven members of singer Reba McEntire's band are among 10 people killed in crash near San Diego

Allen Collins: Age 37
b. July 19, 1952, d. January 23, 1990
He was the original guitarist from Lynyrd Skynyrd. Allen, who survived the accident, endured many problems after the crash which led to his death. He was very heavy into pain medication and his organs shut down. His pain of killing his girlfriend in a car crash and the loss of his band just left him devistated. ~Jim Sheaffer-Smokin'Guns
Surviving guitar player Allan Collins lost his wife in 1980 and in 1986 his girlfriend. Allen formed the short-livrd Rossington-Collins Band with other Lynyrd Skynyrd survivors, became wheelchair-bound from a car accident, and died of pneumonia on January 23, 1990.~We'll Always Remember
Once again tragedy struck Allen in 1986. Driving near his home in Jacksonville, Allen crashed his car in an accident which killed his girlfriend and left him permanently paralyzed from the waist down. The injuries also limited the use of his upper body and arms. He later plead no contest to DUI manslaughter. In 1989, Allen developed pneumonia as a result of decreased lung capacity from the paralyzation. He entered the hospital in September where he passed away on January 23, 1990. ©The Freebird Foundation, Inc.