1985 – Ricky Nelson dies

The glory days of Ricky Nelson’s career were behind him by 1985. But at 45, he wasn’t ready to quit, and he still had enough of a fan base to make gigging a winning proposition financially. The other thing he had was a hatred of traveling by bus. Instead, despite not liking flying that much more than bussing, he had a charter plane to carry him and the band around.

On the New Year’s Eve, 1985, he was booked to play in Dallas, and as they flew into Texas that afternoon, it’s unlikely anyone though anything would go wrong. This may have been a little optimistic – the plane had already been grounded twice in the last six months due to assorted faults – but it was New Year’s Eve. Everyone wanted to party.

Nelson’s plane – which according to some witnesses was already on fire at the time – crashed two miles short of its destination, killing 8 of the ten people on board including Nelson.

Referenced in:

Air Crash Museum — The Dead Milkmen