#1 Songs and Tragedy
A song from 1963 sung in Japanese made #1 in the U.S. "Sukiyaki" by Kyu Sakamota. Much like "Dominique" in 1963 that also reached #1 sung in French by The Singing Nun also had a tragic ending. Kyu Sakamota died in a plane crash 60 miles from Tokyo when part of the tail came off at high altitude. It spiraled down slowly taking 30 minutes before hitting the ground bursting into flames. The worst single plane disaster in aviation history killing 520 with 4 survivors. The song (lyrics in Japanese) remains the biggest international hit from Japan.
"Rock Around The Clock" Bill Haley drank himself to death.
"Honeycomb" Jimmie Rogers was beaten by an off-duty LA police officer (skull fracture) ended his career settled for $200,000 from the LAPD. Shortly after his wife (they had 2 kids) died of a blood clot.
"You Send Me" Sam Cooke was shot 3 times with a .22 by a lady clerk at a motel where he was attempting to locate a young woman who had run away from him hiding in a phone booth. When he accosted the clerk she shot him 4 times.
"At The Hop" Danny & The Juniors with Danny shooting himself committing suicide (had a wife and 3 kids).
"Poor Little Fool" Ricky Nelson was a cocaine, pot & mescaline user. Wife divorced him and he then hooked up with Helen Blair a cocaine-addict. Nelson was a sex addict bragging he had sex with thousands of women. Rick died in a plane crash when the smoke filled the cockpit suggesting he might have been cocaine freebasing (traces were found in his body).
"Battle Of New Orleans" Johnny Horton. After predicting he was going to die a drunk college student from Brady, Texas hit his car on a bridge killing him.
"Runaway" Del Shannon shot himself with a .22 rifle.
"Running Scared" Roy Orbison. Wife killed in a motorcycle accident, 2 young children died in a fire and he chain- smoked having triple bypass dying from smoking.
"Dominique" The Singing Nun died of alcohol/sleeping pill combo committing suicide because she owed taxes in
"I Get Around" Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson died from binge drinking accidentally drowning.
"Light My Fire" Jim Morrison heroin overdose along with Pamela Courson his common-law wife dying 3 years later of the same. He had willed his estate to her and when she died a big court battle erupted between Morrison's family and hers.
"You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' " Righteous Brothers. Bobby Hatfield acute cocaine intoxication.
"I Got You Babe" Sonny & Cher. Sonny Bono died in a skiing accident hitting a tree even thou he was a very skilled at skiing.
"Ballad Of The Green Berets" Sgt Barry Sadler. While living in Guatemala City he was shot in the head after receiving death threats for training counter-revolutionaries.
"The Dock Of The Bay" Otis Redding. Redding died in a plane crash age 26 one month before this his biggest hit was released. The Beechcraft crashed into a lake in Wisconsin in 1967 killing 4 members of the group. One survived in the frigid water clinging to a seat cushion. Cause was never determined.
"That'll Be The Day" Buddy Holly. After taking off and running into a snow storm the 21 year old pilot failed to switch to automatic pilot. Pilot misread gyroscope sending the plane down instead of up at a speed of 175 MPH killing all aboard (Richie Valens & Big Bopper).
"I Heard It Through The Grapevine" Marvin Gaye. Shot and killed by his father after he had intervened in a family argument. Father served probation after it was learned Marvin had beat him.
"Suspicious Minds" Elvis Presley. An obese prescription drug addict who may have intentionally OD'd. David (step brother) was told by Elvis "I'm never going to see you again. The next time we meet will be in a different place." 11 different drugs found in his body. Doctors claim drugs or no drugs his heart was the cause of death. According to a toxicologist the range of drugs were consistent with therapy and therapeutic requirements for known conditions of illness which he had. Elvis was overweight, hypertension and had a colon obstruction. The 11 drug side effects were not taken into consideration.
Elvis' doctor was indicted on 14 counts barely escaped prison. In 1977 alone he had prescribed 10,000 doses to Elvis.
"Bad Bad Leroy Brown" Jim Croce. After a concert he and his agent, a comic, pilot and a passenger died in a small commercial plane crash. On take off the pilot hit the only tree within a mile at the end of the runway.
"Give Me Love" George Harrison. George developed throat cancer after years of heavy pot smoking then lung cancer.
"Sunshine On My Shoulders" John Denver. Died in small experimental plane crash over water running out gas. The poor design of the plane made it difficult to check the fuel tank properly. He left $7 million but failed to write a will.
"Just Like Starting All Over" John Lennon. Shot in the back 4 times by Mark David Chapman. The Nixon Administration & FBI (J. Edgar Hoover had a 300 page file) considered Lennon an extremist and an insidious subversive of the worst kind (famous and beloved kind). Some theories are Chapman was "programmed". The FBI & CIA tracked John from 1969-1976. New Pres. Carter kept the Gestapo-ish agencies more in check. In 1980 Lennon emerged from retirement and in a few months was murdered. The assassination bears similarities to Robt F. Kennedy.
"Try Again" Aaliyah (Haughton). Aaliyah and 8 others died in the Bahamas when the twin engine Cessna 402B exceeded the standard weight by loading their equipment from a music video they just completed. The pilot Luis Morales was not license (falsified his papers) to fly this type of plane plus had traces of cocaine & alcohol in his blood. The plane was 700 pounds over the limit plus had one too many passengers. The plane lifted off the runway and then nosed down into a marsh. Million dollar lawsuits were settled out of court.
"Last Kiss" J. Frank Wilson. While on tour in October 1964 Sonley Roush, road manager, fell asleep at the wheel hitting a truck at a slow speed. With no seat belts in cars, at that time, he was thrown up against the visor dying. This accident pushed the song up a notch or two on the record charts. J. Frank, unable to get another hit, abused alcohol the rest of his life dying at age 49.
"Ben" Michael Jackson. After surviving extreme stress in court being found innocent of all charges Michael dies of prescription drugs being administered by some quack doctor.
"When You Say Nothing" Keith Whitley. Died in his prime of alcohol poisoning at age 33.
"Charlie's Shoes" Billy Walker. Fell asleep at the wheel of his van while returning from a gig. He and his current wife died along with band members being seriously injured.
"Why Don't You Love Me" Hank Williams. His death remains a mystery. While traveling in a car to an out of state gig Hank drinks alcohol along with getting a shot of Morphine from a doctor for his back pain. After spending the night in a hotel his driver ordered food in which Hank ate little. The next morning Hank has hiccups and mild convulsions. A quack doctor arrives giving him 2 more shots of Morphine mixed with B-12. Hank is then put in the back seat of his car and most likely he was already deceased.
"I Fall To Pieces" Patsy Cline. After surviving two auto accidents in which she almost died in one being thrown threw the windshield being hospitalized a month she told friends of her sense of impending doom. After a concert she boarded a Piper Comanche with her manager Randy Hughes, country singers Cowboy Copas and Hawkshaw Hawkins (who had taken Billy Walker's place) heading to Nashville in bad weather. The plane crashed in a forest 90 miles from Nashville. According to Cline's wristwatch it crashed at 6:20 p.m. Scavengers came and took what they could of Patsy Cline's personal belongings. The money bag and dress she had worn on the concert was never found.
"How Blue" Reba McEntire. while on tour 8 members of her road band, pilot and co-pilot died in a jet plane crash. She then recorded an album "For My Broken Heart" dedicated to them selling 4 million copies.
"He'll Have To Go" Jim Reeves. Jim Reeves and his manager piano player Dean Manuel were en route to Nashville in a small plane and encounter a thunderstorm. Reeves (pilot) suffered spatial disorientation flying the plane upside down thinking he was increasing altitude when in fact he was headed down. The nose and engine was were buried in the ground do to the impact.
"Love's Gonna Love Here" Buck Owen. Buck's harmony singer, guitarist and best friend Don Rich died in a motorcycle accident. He had been en route to join his family for a vacation on the central coast of California. For some unknown reason his motorcycle hit a center divider near Morro Bay. Buck was devastated by the news and never quite recovered. He had pleaded with Don not to take his motorcycle that day and had been pleading with him for years to quit riding.
"A Lesson In Leavin'" Dottie West. After declaring bankruptcy owing IRS 1.3 million West was scheduled to appear at the Grand Ole Opry. When her car stalled on the side of the road a neighbor picked her up. Running late she urged the neighbor to speed in which he lost control while exiting at the Opryland exit vaulted in the air and crashed. Not believing she was injured she insisted her neighbor be treated first. West suffered both a ruptured spleen and a lacerated liver. After going through numerous surgeries to stop the liver from bleeding she died during a 3rd operation.
"Close To You" Karen Carpenter. Wouldn't eat dying of
"Let's Stay Together" Al Green. Al Jackson (drummer).
Jackson wrote and played drums on the above #1 song. Jackson was one of the most important and influential drummers at Stax Records. Jackson can be heard at his best on "Last Night" by the Mar-Keys. He was the regular drummer for Booker T & the MGs. In 1975 his estranged wife shot him in the chest but survived. After returning home one night he was shot fatally 5 times in the back by a bugler. The suspected triggerman was later killed by police.
"My Girl" Temptations. Paul Williams R&R HOF
(34) committed suicide.
"Changes" Tupac Shakur. Just one of the many rappers who have been murdered. They sing about violence and criminal lifestyle and some live the lifestyle. A feud developed between Death Row Records and Bad Boy Entertainment escalating into a bloody war. A partial list of young Rappers who have been shot and killed: Notorious B.I.G., Shakur, Freaky Tah, Jam Master, Albert Thomas, Stretch, Christopher Bender, Ronnie Newt, Soulja Slim, Mac Dre, Scott L Rock, Proof and Big L who is regarded as the greatest rapper of all time (he was shot 7 times in the head). Gangs like the Bloods & Crips also played a roll.
The above rappers represent numerous gold and platinum records along with Grammy awards with 85% of buyers being white.