Site of Marc Bolan’s car crash
16 September 1977 is a day that lives in the memory of family and fans of legendary glam rocker Marc Bolan of T.Rex and solo fame.
The talented British singer and guitarist was tragically killed on that day when the Mini he was travelling in with his girlfriend smashed head on into a Sycamore tree.
The ‘Metal Guru’ singer died instantly on impact with the tree, and this is the exact spot where the tragedy that cut short the life and career of one of Britain’s most loved rockers happened.
Fans of the charismatic Bolan made the site of the crash an area of pilgrimage almost straight after his untimely death.
Subsequently, there is a well-kept shrine for the singer for fans to pay their respects at. A special bust of Bolan takes pride of place and there are usually plenty of tributes that have been left by fans for visitors to have a look at.
To add to the tragedy, less than four years after his death in a car crash, Bolan’s pal and T.Rex bass player Steve Currie was also killed in an automobile accident in Portugal.
Location: Queens Ride, Barnes, London, England SW15 5RG
Plane crash site of Buddy Holly
One of the early pioneers of rock ‘n’ roll, Buddy Holly made a significant mark on both popular culture and music in his tragically short life.
The rock singer died aged just 22, having recorded three albums in his painfully short career. But his influence on the burgeoning musical style of rock ‘n’ roll has proved to be incalculable.
Inspired by Elvis Presley show in his hometown of Lubbock, Holly added a band he named the Crickets and set about redefining rock ‘n’ roll.
With his trademark black spectacles and boyish good looks, Holly, like Elvis, became a teen idol several years before The Beatles, thrilling fans with a host of hit singles and rocking appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show. Hits such as ‘Peggy Sue’ and ‘I’m Gonna Love You Too’ created a new energy in rock ‘n’ roll, and indebted bands and artists such as The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and Bob Dylan soon followed in his wake.
Holly died on 3 February 1959, when the small plane he was travelling in crashed in a blizzard near Clear Lake, Iowa. Band-mates Ritchie Valens and J. P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, plus the pilot were all killed in the crash, but Waylon Jennings life was spared when he opted to take the bus instead.
The crash site from that fateful day in early 1959 is marked by a steel memorial to all who died, including Valens and Richardson, and a nice tribute of a large pair of Holly’s trademark black rimmed glasses sat on top of two white posts.
Holly has inspired many artists and songs since, with his own inimitable style and music inspiring covers from the likes of The Rolling Stones (‘Not Fade Away’), John Lennon (‘Peggy Sue’) and Blondie (‘I’m Gonna Love You Too’) and tributes from artists as diverse as Don McClean (‘American Pie’) and Weezer (‘Buddy Holly’). McClean famously referred to the death of Holly in the Iowa plane wreckage as ‘the day the music died’ in that memorable song.
Location: Buddy Holly Place, Clear Lake, Iowa, United States 50428
Site of Otis Redding plane crash
Robert Johnson may have become known as the King of the Delta Blues Singers but it was Otis Redding who took the title of King of the Soul Singers.
And like Johnson before him, Redding’s life and hugely promising career was snuffed out way too early in cruel circumstances.
Born in Dawson, Georgia on 9 September 1941, Redding became an international soul sensation in the early 1960s with a string of hits including ‘Respect’, ‘Try A Little Tenderness’ and ‘Ive Been Loving You Too Long’, plus spellbinding covers of songs like ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’ and ‘Satisfaction.’
With growing wealth from his worldwide success, Redding acquired a private plane. It was in his twin-engine Beechcraft which Redding purchased that he perished on that tragic day of 10 December 1967. Flying in bad weather to make it to a gig in Madison, Wisconsin, the plane crashed into Lake Monona in Madison Wisconsin killing everyone on board.
Redding is remembered on the shores of Lake Monona close to where his plane crashed into the lake with a memorial plaque. Erected by the Otis Redding Memorial Fund in 1987, the plaque commemorates his brilliance whilst telling the story of the crash, namely that Redding wouldn’t accept the advice to not fly in bad weather because of his love for his fans and the fact he had never cancelled a show. A fitting tribute to a soul legend.
Location: John Nolen Drive, Madison, Wisconsin, United States 53703
More to follow.