Remembering Reba McEntire’s Band Members: Honoring Their Lives

The adored country music icon Reba McEntire is intimately acquainted with the anguish of bereavement. Tragic events occurred in 1991 when a tragic aircraft crash during a concert claimed the lives of seven band members and her tour manager.

That tragic day was March 16, 1991, when Reba and her band played a private party in San Diego. The band members were scheduled to be flown to their next performance in Fort Wayne, Indiana, by two planes that were waiting for them at Brown Field Municipal Airport.

Reba, her then-husband and manager Narvel Blackstock, and her stylist Sandi Spika spent the evening in San Diego while the rest of the band and tour manager left. They had no idea how tragically things were going to turn out.

In a moving 2012 interview, Reba revealed the heartbreaking circumstances of what happened next to Oprah Winfrey. Tragically, the first jet crashed about ten miles east of the airport after taking off and landing safely aboard the second aircraft.

Reba sobbed as she told Oprah, “The plane’s wing clipped a boulder on the edge of Otay Mountain, claiming the lives of everyone aboard.” “Narvel approached our pilot and relayed the devastating information when we received the news.”

Reba reported that “late into the night, Narvel came back to the hotel room where I was and shared the news that one of the planes had crashed.” I said, ‘Are they alright?’ His dubious response was, “I don’t think so.” It was intolerable to be uncertain.

Reba said they were waiting anxiously for additional information regarding the unfortunate incident. “Narvel made phone calls while moving from room to room,” she paused, her voice wavering. She said, “I apologize; even though it has been 20 years, the pain never really goes away.” “But that moment—the picture of Narvel pacing back and forth—I can still see it.”

Dolly Parton and Vince Gill, two empathetic friends, donated their bands to assist Reba finish the tour in the face of unfathomable pain. Reba declined, instead opting to dedicate her upcoming album, For My Broken Heart, to the memory of her departed bandmates. Over four million copies of the album—which was dedicated to the people she lost—were sold since it debuted at the top of the Billboard Top Country Albums chart.

Reba honors those who lost their life that day every year on the anniversary of the tragedy. She used Instagram in 2014 to mark the anniversary of the crash. She then took a moving trip to San Diego to commemorate the 25th anniversary in 2016 and shared her journey with her devoted supporters on social media.

“Today is the 25th anniversary of the plane accident,” Reba wrote. I went back to San Diego in November of last year and flew to the crash site by helicopter. They are aware of how much we miss them, I think. I send my sincerest sympathies and prayers to all the impacted friends and families.

Together, let’s recognize the enduring legacy of Reba McEntire’s band members and pay tribute to their lives.

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