AIR CRASH VICTIMS
: 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 ... 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.
Books: by Kelly Kenyatta
by Christopher John Farley
by Tim Footman
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.
Interview with Ben Cauley / photo of plane:
(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 , leaving no survivors.
(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.
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
(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. - Chase's entire band lost their lives: (BILL CHASE, JOHN EMMA, WALLY YOHN and WALTER CLARK).
(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 , Cowboy Copas, Hawkshaw Hawkins and Randy Hughes were killed when their plane crashed in swamped woodlands in , 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.
(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.
(b. 10 January 1943, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, d. 20 September 1973).
Originally a university disc jockey, played in various rock bands before moving to New York in 1967 where he performed in folk clubs. By 1969, he and his wife, , 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:
(b. Henry John Deutschendorf Jr., 31 December 1943, Roswell, NM,
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 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:
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
(Born in France 11 December 1890; Died: 24 June 1935)
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 that he rose to extraordinary fame...[Gardel was one of 17 killed when two Ford Tri Motor airplanes collided in midair over Medellin, Columbia. ] 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.
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, . To buy
(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.
(Charles Hardin Holley, 7 September 1936, Lubbock, Texas, d. 3 February 1959).
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 minutes after takeoff, (The tour actually continued after their deaths, with Bobby Vee, Jimmy Clanton and Frankie Avalon filling in). / To read more link to:
--(Buddy Holly book)
--by Larry Lehmer
(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 " " album for MCA. Hyatt's most recent album, "," is on Sugar Hill Records; proceeds from the sale of that record (as well as two ) 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.
(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, , Billy Powell and Leon Wilkenson were all seriously injured but eventually recovered. That same month, new album STREET SURVIVORS was withdrawn as the sleeve featured a macabre design of the band surrounded by flames. To read more link to:
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 had a hit called "," killed in the crash [while flying] an Air National Guard in California's San Bernardino Mountains.
(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 . 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 "" 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. or December 15, 1944 a cold, wet and foggy afternoon, Glenn Miller departed an RAF-Base, in England in a . 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. AVSTOP.com
(born:5 Dec. 1901; died 26 Jan. 1947)
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. 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 people.
(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: by Bashe, P
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 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.
(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.
(September 1941, Dawson, Georgia, USA, d. 10 December 1967).
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 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
(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:
(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. 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.
(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. -- 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.
: Age 34
(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 ",'' 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 , her singing career started in Germany under the auspices of Franc Farian, who has launched many pop bands. She had arrived with just in her pockets to join her sister in Germany in 1992. It was said, "She became successful enough to book New York clubs, and L.A. venues." 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.
Kyu Sakamoto: born 10 December 1941 . died August 12, 1985
His most popular song, "Ue o muite arukō" ("I look up when I walk"-"Sukiyaki." remains the only Japanese song to reach number one on the Billboard pop charts in the United States, Kyu Sakamoto was a Japanese singer and actor, best known outside of Japan for his international hit song "Sukiyaki", which was sung in Japanese and sold over 13 million copies. It reached number one in the United States Billboard Hot 100 in June 1963. He died in the deadliest single-aircraft accident in history: crash of Japan Airlines Flight 123.
: 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
(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 , 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 following a concert in Clear Lake, Iowa. To buy the book:
: 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 To buy the book: