Musicians Who Died In Plane Crashes

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Sixty years ago today, on February 3, 1959, Buddy Holly’s bassist Waylon Jennings said seven words that would haunt him for the rest of his life. His band, fronted by rock ‘n’ roll prodigy Holly, had just played a rock concert in Iowa as part of their Winter Dance Party tour. “Even though it was a Monday night,” Jennings later recalled, “it seemed like half the guys in town had turned up.”

Musicians Who Died In Plane Crashes

Musicians Who Died In Plane Crashes

But Holly was fed up. Tired of the freezing cold, a constantly malfunctioning tour bus, and desperate to avoid the 400-mile trip to her next stop, she booked a private flight to Minnesota. Jennings was supposed to join him, but at the last minute gave up his seat to “The Big Bopper,” who was on the same tour and suffering from a bad case of the flu. When Holly found out, she was very angry with him. “I hope your damn bus freezes again,” he joked to his friend. “Well,” replied Jennings, “I hope your plane crashes.”

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That “old” plane crashed, just minutes after take off. At the table were three famous musicians: 22-year-old Buddy Holly, 17-year-old Ritchie Valens (who won his seat in a coin toss with Tommy Allsup) and 28-year-old JP “The Big Bopper” Richardson Jr. – as well as the pilot, 21-year-old Roger Peterson. Holly and Valens were thrown from the plane’s broken fuse. Richardson was thrown into a nearby cornfield. Peterson was caught in the wreckage. None of them survived.

Musicians Who Died In Plane Crashes

“I wish I was like you / Easy to entertain / Finding my nest of salt / It’s all my fault.” As bangers with the bleeding hearts of poets, Nirvana were cantabiles. And yet, his slower songs fared poorly as the decades went by. Kurt Cobain expressed his anger and rage even more poignantly than in the best song on his 1993 swan song album, In Utero? All Apologies – a mea culpa from the edge – was addressed to his wife, Courtney Love, and their young daughter, Frances Bean. Six months later, Cobain will take his own life. No other composition more poignantly conveys the despair that completely destroyed him and the heartbreaking love he felt for his family. Their circumstances are tragic, but their message, which loves to linger after we’re gone, is uplifting. EP

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“And you could have it all / My empire of filth / I’ll let you down / I’ll hurt you.” Trent Reznor’s palliative diagnosis of his addiction to self-destruction—he’s never confirmed whether or not the song is about heroin use—would have an unlikely revival via a Johnny Cash cover in 2002. But all the pain, broken lyricism, and terrible beauty already present and correct in Reznor’s original version. EP

Musicians Who Died In Plane Crashes

Ritchie Valens, Buddy Holly And The Big Bopper Died 60 Years Ago

“Why is the room so cold on your side? / Is my weather flawed, and our respect runs so dry? Taking on its semi-official status as the student disco anthem of Joy Division’s biggest hit has undoubtedly suffered from over-familiarity . With fresh ears, though, the aching humanity of Ian Curtis’s words shines through darkly. His marriage was falling apart when he wrote the lyrics and he would kill himself soon after. But far from being a haunting farewell to the brink, “Love Will Tear Us Apart” unfolds like a guitar sonnet: sad and austere EP

“They heard me sing and told me to stop / stop this pretentious stuff and punch the clock.” Locating the dreamy underside of suburban boredom may have been the crowning achievement of Arcade Fire’s masterpiece and best album, The Suburbs. Many artists have tried to talk about the shocking conformity of life between manicured lawns and the purgatory of the life of two cars driving in the sticks. But Arcade Fire expressed frustrations and a sense of something better on the horizon that will be instantly familiar to anyone who grew up away from the bright lights, the shrill synths of “Sprawl II” counterpointed by Régine Chassagne singing like Bjork se Bjork. he was stocking shelves in a grocery store while studying for his career at night. EP

Musicians Who Died In Plane Crashes

“I like my baby hair, with baby hair and afros / I like my black nose with Jackson Five nostrils / Got all this money but they’ll never take me out of the country / Got hot sauce in my bag, booty.” Beyoncé has made political statements before, but “Formation” seemed more open to her. The words reclaim the power in her identity as a black woman from the Deep South and she flaunts her wealth and refuses to forget her roots. In a society that still judges women for flaunting their success, Beyoncé owns it and makes a point of asserting her power, even over men. “Maybe you’re a black Bill Gates in the picture,” he thinks, but then decides, really, “Maybe I’m a black Bill Gates.” RO

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“Love, don’t / Fall to your knees / It’s not like I think / Eternal love.” Ghostly compatriot Marling was 16 when she wrote her ballad: teenage heartbreak sorcery with a streak of flinty maturity that punches the listener in the gut. It’s one of the craziest anti-love songs in recent history, and reminds us of Mumford and his Sons, though the mid-2000s nu-folk scene wasn’t the hellish retrograde fandango it is. EP

Musicians Who Died In Plane Crashes

“I’m losing my edge / To all the kids from Tokyo and Berlin / I’m losing my edge to the art school Brooklynites with little jackets and nostalgia borrowed from the unremembered eighties.” One of the best songs ever written about getting older and being forced to make peace with the person you’re becoming. Long before the concept of “hipster” became popular, 30-year-old James Murphy lamented the cool kids – with their beards and loris hats – snapping at his heels. Drawing from his experiences as a too-cool school DJ in New York, the song works perfectly as a satire of Nathan Barley’s tendencies. But as Murphy scorns all his progressive influences, it’s the vein of real pain running through the words that gives it its universality. EP

“Well you know I love living with you / but it makes me forget so much / I forget to pray for the angels / and then the angels forget to pray for us.” You could fill an entire book with Cohen’s unforgettable lyrics: lines that cut you in half like a samurai sword so you don’t even realize what happened until you suddenly slip. “So Long, Marianne” was dedicated to his girlfriend, Marianne Jensen, whom he met on the island of Hydra in Greece in 1960. As the lyrics testify, they ended up as ships in a long, sad night. She died three months before Cohen, in July 2016. Shortly before that, she wrote her last farewell: a coda to the ballad that came to define her in the wider world. “Know that I’m so close behind you, if you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine… Goodbye old friend. Infinite love, see you on the way.” EP

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Musicians Who Died In Plane Crashes

On This Day: 3 February 1959

“An ending that fits the beginning / you twist and tear our love.” The great pop world of our time came crashing down shortly after Carl Barât and Pete Doherty slipped their arms around their shoulders and belted out this incredible platonic love song. Has the dirt of a breakup ever hit so bitterly as when the Libertines duo recounted the ways in which one had betrayed the other? Soon after, Doherty’s spiraling chemical habit would see him kicked out of the group and he would become a national mascot for drug excess, a sort of Danny Dyer with trail marks all over his arm. But he and Barât—and the rest of us—would have “Can’t Stand Me Now,” a list of minor betrayals that stick in your chest. EP

“You’re like my yo-yo / That glowed in the dark / What made it special / Made it dangerous / So I bury it / And forget it.” Few artists use surrealism as successfully as Kate Bush, or draw inspiration from such unusual places. So you have “Cloudbusting,” about the relationship between psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich and his son, Peter, which Bush inhabits with disarming tenderness. The way Peter’s father is compared to such a vivid childhood memory is the perfect and haunting testament to the ways loss affects us as adults. RO

Musicians Who Died In Plane Crashes

“I don’t believe in a God that intervenes / But I know, dear, that he does / But if he did, I’d get on my knees and ask him / not to interfere when he does.

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