Donate SIGN UP

I've been reading about the death of Lisa 'Left Eye' Lopes

01:00 Wed 01st May 2002 |

Lisa 'Left Eye' Lopes of US R'n'B group TLC�(pictured, centre, with band mates Tionne 'T-Boz' Watkins, left, and Rozonda 'Chilli' Thomas) died last week when her all-terrain people carrier crashed near her holiday home in Honduras.

She is just the latest star to die in a car crash.

(In the interests of complete reporting it should be noted that in the same week singer/songwriter Jewel broke her collarbone when she fell of a horse, so it isn't just motor accidents that can threaten musicians. And Kate Moss pranged her Mercedes in London, so musicians aren't the only celebrities at risk.)

So Lopes wasn't the first singer to die in a car crash
Legendary blues singer Bessie Smith was probably one of the first singers to die as the result of a car accident, in September 1937. In some ways the story of her death is one of the most tragic. Many accounts suggest that she would have survived the crash but was denied treatment from 'whites only' hospitals in Clarksdale, Mississippi. She died through loss of blood before she could be treated.

Cars don't have to crash to be dangerous places to be.
Rappers Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G. were both shot and killed while in their cars. These 'drive-by shootings' have long been linked as part of a bitter feud.

The first great star of country music was Hank Williams, who also died while in a car. His death was caused by heart failure brought on by a mixture of drugs and alcohol.

Cars have taken more than their fair share of young lives.
Harry Chapin, Charlatans' keyboardist Rob Collins, Austrian one-hit-wonder Falco, punk guitarist Stiv Bators, Johnny of Johnny Kidd and the Pirates, jazz trumpeter Clifford Brown, Mettalica bassist Cliff Burton, Minutemen singer D. Boon - they all died as a result of car accidents. The sad list goes on and on.

Most of these names are American...
Britain lost�a great star on 16 September 1977. Marc Bolan died when the Mini he was travelling in lost control on Barnes Common, South London, and crashed into a tree. Fans still visit the site.

Eddie Cochran was a US rock'n'roller but he died in England - Chippenham in Wiltshire to be exact. The taxi he was in veered off the road in, killing Cochran and injuring Gene Vincent.

What was Cochran's big hit

You're thinking of Three Steps To Heaven, which eerily�enough was in the charts when he died. It� promptly shot to Number One.

Another coincidence involved Jan Berry of Jan & Dean. The storyline of their hit Deadman's Curve�was mirrored when he suffered a horrific car crash not long after it was released.

And motorbikes They're dangerous
Certainly for members of the Allman Brothers Band, one of the biggest groups in the States in the early 1970s. Lead guitarist Duane Allman died following a bike crash on 29 October 1971. Little more than a year later, the band's bass player Berry Oakley died on his motorbike in a remarkably similar accident.

I know�flying is dangerous too
Plane crashes have robbed us of many great musicians, from Glen Miller (1944) to young R'n'B star Aaliyah in 2001. In 1959 Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper were killed when their small plane crashed during a tour of the USA.

18 years later four members of the rock group Lynyrd Skynyrd were lost when their tour plane crashed. Country stars Patsy Cline, Jim Reeves and John Denver (who was piloting his own light aircraft) all lost their lives in air crashes, as did Otis Redding, Jim Croce and Ricky Nelson.

For more info:

Do you have a question about Music?