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Rock Stars and Bands that Died in Plane Crashes

Updated February 4, 2021 593.6k views18 items

Who's all on this list of rock stars and bands that died in planes crashes? Aviation accidents have been the cause of many famous fatalities (see the list Famous People who Died in Plane Crashes). In the music profession, especially, many young lives have been lost to accidents in the air. Over the decades several bands have died in airplane accidents as the world mourned. Young rock stars that died in a plane crash include Richie Valens, Buddy Holly and even country crooner and icon Patsy Cline. When the first two of those three perished along with the Big Bopper, it's famously been called "The Day the Music Died."

These recording artist that passed away in aviation accidents will always be remembered for their talent and gifts. Feel free to use this list as a starting point for your own recording artists list. Airplanes have been the cause of many celebrity deaths.

Who are some musicians and singer celebrities who died in plane crashes? This list gives that unfortunate answer.

See also: Sports Teams Killed in Airplane Crashes

  • Photo: Van Dyck / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain
    Tour mates Richie Valens, Buddy Holly, & the Big Bopper died in an airplane crash.
    Jiles Perry "J. P." Richardson Jr. (October 24, 1930 – February 3, 1959), known as The Big Bopper, was an American musician, songwriter, and disc jockey. His best known compositions include "Chantilly Lace" and "White Lightning", the latter of which became George Jones' first number-one hit in 1959. He was killed in a plane crash in Iowa in 1959, along with fellow musicians Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens and the pilot Roger Peterson. The accident was famously referred to as "The Day the Music Died" in Don McLean's 1971 song "American Pie"....  more

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  • Photo: MCA Records / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain
    Death- Lead vocalist Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines, and back-up singer Cassie Gaines
    Lynyrd Skynyrd is an American rock band best known for popularizing the southern hard-rock genre during the 1970s. Originally formed in 1966 as The Pretty Ones in Jacksonville, Florida, they then went through two name changes: The Noble Five and One Percent, before coming up with Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1968. The band rose to worldwide recognition on the basis of its live performances and signature tunes "Sweet Home Alabama" and "Free Bird". At the peak of their success, three members died in an airplane crash in 1977, putting an abrupt end to the band's most popular incarnation. The surviving band members re-formed in 1988 for a reunion tour with lead vocalist Johnny Van Zant, the younger...  more

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  • Aaliyah Dana Haughton (; January 16, 1979 – August 25, 2001) was an American singer, actress, and model. Born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in Detroit, Michigan, she first gained recognition at the age of 10, when she appeared on the television show Star Search and performed in concert alongside Gladys Knight. At the age of 12, Aaliyah signed with Jive Records and her uncle Barry Hankerson's Blackground Records. Hankerson introduced her to R. Kelly, who became her mentor, as well as lead songwriter and producer of her debut album, Age Ain't Nothing but a Number. The album sold 3 million copies in the United States and was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association...  more

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  • Photo: Stax Records / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain
    Otis Ray Redding Jr. (September 9, 1941 – December 10, 1967) was an American singer, songwriter, record producer, arranger, and talent scout. He is considered one of the greatest singers in the history of American popular music and a seminal artist in soul music and rhythm and blues. Redding's style of singing gained inspiration from the gospel music that preceded the genre. His singing style influenced many other soul artists of the 1960s. Redding was born in Dawson, Georgia, and at the age of 2, moved to Macon, Georgia. Redding quit school at age 15 to support his family, working with Little Richard's backing band, the Upsetters, and by performing in talent shows at the historic Douglass...  more

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