Remembrance of Reba McEntire’s Band Members Who Have Passed Away
Reba McEntire, the beloved superstar of country music, has experienced deep loss and unimaginable tragedy. In 1991, her trusted tour manager and seven cherished band members lost their lives in a devastating aircraft disaster.
This heartbreaking event took place on March 16, 1991, following a mesmerizing performance by Reba and her band in San Diego.
On that fateful night, preparations were made for the band to take a flight from Brown Field Municipal Airport to Fort Wayne, Indiana, while Reba, her then-husband, and manager Narvel Blackstock, along with her stylist Sandi Spika, remained in San Diego. Little did they know the tragedy that awaited their bandmates.
In a candid interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2012, Reba McEntire shared the harrowing details of that night. The second plane took off without any issues and reached its destination safely. Tragically, just ten miles east of the airport, the first plane carrying Reba’s dear friends crashed, forever altering the lives of those left behind.
Recounting the painful moment, Reba solemnly shared with Oprah, “the plane’s wing struck a boulder on the edge of Otay Mountain, taking the lives of everyone on board.” Narvel, upon hearing the devastating news, approached their pilot to relay what had happened. Late in the night, around two or three in the morning, Narvel returned to the hotel room where Reba anxiously awaited news. The weight of the tragedy hung heavy in the air. “One of the planes crashed,” Narvel told her.
Hope fluttered in Reba’s heart as she inquired about their friends’ well-being. Sadly, Narvel’s reply shattered her hopes. “I don’t think so,” he said, casting a cloud of doubt over them both.
Reba disclosed their relentless pursuit of information surrounding the tragedy that had befallen their loved ones. With her voice trembling with genuine emotion, she confided, “Narvel paced from one room to another, clutching a phone, desperately seeking answers.” “It’s been 20 years, but the sorrow never really goes away,” she apologized. “However, I can vividly picture that moment. Narvel pacing endlessly, consumed by agony.”
During this period of intense sadness, Reba found solace in the unwavering support of her close friends, including Vince Gill and Dolly Parton. Following the tragedy, they kindly offered their bands the opportunity to finish the tour. However, Reba politely declined their generous offers.
Instead, she embarked on a personal journey of healing and poured her heart and soul into her next album, “For My Broken Heart.” This record served as a heartfelt remembrance of the bandmates she had lost, showcasing her unwavering love and paying tribute to their memory.
Remarkably, “For My Broken Heart” reached incredible heights of success, debuting at No. 1 on the prestigious Billboard Top Country Albums chart and selling a remarkable four million copies.
Reba McEntire faithfully honors the memory of those who perished in the tragic incident every year. Through social media, she ensures their legacy lives on. In 2014, she created a poignant memorial on Instagram to commemorate the anniversary of the crash, touching the hearts of her countless followers.
Then, in 2016, on the 25th anniversary of the tragedy, Reba embarked on a poignant pilgrimage to San Diego, a city forever holding a special place in her heart. She graciously shared this significant journey with her devoted followers through various social media channels, offering them a glimpse into her healing process.
In a heartfelt note, Reba expressed, “Today is the 25th anniversary of the plane crash. I returned to San Diego in November and took a helicopter to the scene of the tragic collision. I was overwhelmed by the profound sense that those who have passed on know how much we miss them. My condolences and prayers pour out to all the families and friends affected by this tragedy.”