Bad News On The Doorstep

Bad News On The Doorstep

A few weeks ago, while listening to the radio, the DJ played Don McLean’s American Pie. As I listened, it occurred to me that over the years we have lost quite a few artists. I called Manny, my best friend for over fifty years, to discuss my thoughts regarding these calamities. Manny is a walking Rock ‘N’ Roll encyclopedia. He’s forgotten more about rock music than most people will ever know! Anyway, within about five minutes, we compiled a list comprising fifteen memorable artists who met an untimely death. We came to the conclusion , there were many “Days The Music Died”, since the beginning of rock until the year 2000. As I researched this topic, I was amazed how many well known rock performers had sad endings to their lives. A few of the reasons were: cancer, car crashes, heart attacks, murders, overdoses, plane crashes, strokes and many other reasons. I decided to mention the most popular entertainers, as the list is much longer than I had anticipated. So let’s start with Danny Cedrone (from Bill Haley And His Comets). He died June 17, 1954 in Philadelphia, PA. He fell down a flight of steps and broke his neck. (I was much luckier, I broke my neck on March 29, 2014. Check the “About Me” section on the website) Of course most everyone knows about the plane crash on February 3, 1959, that took the lives of Buddy Holly, J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson and Ritchie Valens. The decade of the 1960′s was terrible with a total of thirty-six rockers who met their fate prematurely. Here are a few:                                                                                                                                Eddie Cochrane (Summertime Blues) was killed in a car crash on April 17, 1960, at the age 21, in Chippenham, Wilshire, England.                                                                                                                    Johnny Horton (The Battle Of New Orleans) perished in a car crash on November 5, 1960, at age 35, in Milano Texas.                                                                                                                                        Johnny Burnette (You’re Sixteen) died in a boating accident on August 14, 1964, at age 30, on Clear Lake, California.                                                                                                                                            Sam Cooke (You Send Me) expired from a gunshot wound on December 11, 1964, at age 33, in Clarksdale, Mississippi.                                                                                                                                        Otis Redding (The Dock Of The Bay) was killed in a plane crash on December 10, 1967, at age 26, in Lake Monona in Madison, Wisconsin. The crash also killed four members of the Bar-Kays: Jimmie King, Ronnie Caldwell, Carl Cunningham and Phalon Jones.                                                        Shorty Long (Here Comes The Judge) drowned in a boating accident on the Detroit River on June 29, 1969, at age 29.                                                                                                                                      Tommy Edwards (It’s All In The Game) passed away do to a brain aneurysm on October 22, 1969. at age 47, in Richmond, Virginia. The 1970′s were more tragic than the previous decade, with 71 performers who perished prematurely. Here are a few of the most popular musicians:                                                                       Billy Stewart (Summertime) was killed in a car crash on January 17, 1970, at age 32, in Washington, D.C.                                                                                                                                                   Tammi Terrell (You’re All I Need To Get By) with Marvin Gaye, passed away do to a brain tumor on March 16, 1970, at age 24, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.                                                          Gene Vincent (Be-Bop-A-Lula) died of a bleeding ulcer on October 12, 1971, at age 36, in California.                                                                                                                                                                 Duane Allman ( The Allman Brothers Band) perished in a motorcycle crash on October 29, 1971, at age 24, in Macon, Georgia.                                                                                                                    Clyde McPhatter (A Lover’s Question) expired do to a heart attack on June 13, 1972, at age 39, in Teaneck, New Jersey.                                                                                                                                         Jim Croce (Time In A Bottle) with Maury Muehleisen ( Croce’s lead guitarist) were killed in a plane crash on September 20, 1973, at ages 30 and 24 respectively, in Natchitoches, Louisiana.         Bobby Darin (Mack The Knife) succumbed to heart failure on December 20, 1973, at age 37, in Los Angeles, California.                                                                                                                                         “Mama” Cass Elliot (Dream A Little Dream Of Me)  died of a heart attack (despite rumors, she did not choke to death) on July 29, 1974, at age 32, in London, England.                                                 Florence Ballard (from The Supremes) passed away do to a coronary thrombosis (bloodclot) on February 22, 1976, at age 32, in Detroit, Michigan.                                                                                   Elvis Presley (Love Me Tender) died of a heart attack (?) on August 16, 1977, at age 42, in Memphis, Tennessee.                                                                                                                                              Steve Gaines, Ronnie Van Zant and Cassie Gaines (Lynryd Skynryd) perished in a plane crash on October 20, 1977, at ages 28, 29 and 29 respectively in Gillsburg, Mississippi.                                   Minnie Riperton (Lovin’ You) succumbed to breast cancer on July 12, 1979, at age 31, in Los Angeles, California. There were many more tragedies in the decades leading to the millennium. Some will be mentioned in a later blog. Sources: Joel Whitburn’s Music Stars, Top Pop Singles 1955-1996, Wikipe

Bad News On The Doorstep

Bad News On The Doorstep


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