Tales, Truths & Tirades – 2 February 2017


Let’s do a short quiz today. If you love music this will be easy-peasy. Try to link the name of a singer, band or musician to each of the following ten songs without looking at the answers further on.
Let’s start with the easy ones. “Chattanooga Choo Choo.” “That’ll Be the Day.” “La Bamba.” “Crazy.” “Distant Drums.” “The Dock of the Bay.” “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown.” “Take Me Home, Country Roads”.
Now for something a little more difficult. Whose signature song was “Sweet Home Alabama”? And then, lastly, name the creator of the album “Soul To Soul”, which included the song “Change It”.
Okay, how did it go? The answers, in order of “appearance”, are Glenn Miller, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, Patsy Cline, Jim Reeves, Otis Redding, Jim Croce, John Denver, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and last but not least, Stevie Ray Vaughan.
By now you’ve probably spotted our theme. Aviation accidents. Each one of the above artists died in a plane crash. In the case of the American rock band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, lead singer Ronnie van Zant, guitar player and vocalist Steve Gaines, along with backup singer Cassie Gaines (Steve’s older sister), all were killed when their chartered plane ran out of fuel near Gillsburg, Mississippi. The accident happened just three days after the release of their fifth studio album, “Street Survivors”.
The album’s original cover featured a photo of the group’s seven members surrounded by flames. Even more unsettling is the fact that Steve Gaines is clearly standing out of line with the rest of the band, his head almost entirely engulfed by the fire. The sleeve was quickly changed after the accident and replaced by a different shot of the band in front of a stark black background. “Street Survivors” has since been reissued with the flame artwork restored.
When the news of John Denver’s death in a plane crash broke in 1997, OFM’s offices were at the Loch Logan Waterfront. I remember running down to the studio to make sure no one would play “Leaving On A Jet Plane”. It was too late.