On this day in 1959 the American singer Buddy Holly was killed in a plane crash. It was the ‘day the music died’ for thousands of fans. Musicians killed in plane crashes since then include Otis Redding, Lynyrd Skynyrd band members, John Denver, Jim Reeves and Patsy Cline.
There have been many other fatal accidents involving cars, boats and motor bikes not to mention shootings, suicides and drownings. Singers and musicians seem to have somehow evolved into people who live dangerously or who are, at any rate, highly accident prone.
The Buddy Holly disaster was immortalised by Don MacLean in his song American Pie; the fairy-tale of pop stardom suddenly developed a darker side. At times like that, it can help to go back to basics and for me that often means John Donne.
I really like his Death Be Not Proud:
Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for, thou art not so,
For, those, whom thou think’st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our bestmen with thee doe goe,
Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie.
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,
And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
And better then thy stroake; why swell’st thou then;
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.
Today I remember those who have died young for whatever reason. I will try to look at our existence in the context of eternity