Reba Mourns Bandmates On Anniversary Of Plane Crash
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Reba McEntire was at the top of her game when her album Rumor Has It was released on August 17, 1990. The album peaked at number two on the Billboard country album chart, and became her very first album to enter the mainstream Top 40, peaking at number 39 on the Billboard 200 chart. Rumor Has It produced four singles, “You Lie,” “Rumor Has It,” “Fancy,” and “Fallin’ Out of Love,” all of which peaked in the Top 10, with “You Lie” going number one.
Like she always does, McEntire went on tour to support Rumor Has It, and the tour took her and her band to San Diego, California, where they performed a private concert for an IBM company conference at the Sheraton Harbor Island Hotel.
Just a few hours after their 75-minute set, her band hopped on two private planes heading for Fort Wayne, Indiana for their next show. The plane carrying fiddler Chris Austin, band leader Kirk Cappello, keyboardist Joey Cigainero, backup singer Paula Kaye Evans, tour manager Jim Hammon, bassist Terry Jackson, drummer Anthony Saputo, and guitarist Michael Thomas crashed into the side of Otay Mountain, just ten miles away from where they took off.
The plane was estimated to have taken off on March 16, 1991 at 1:45AM at Brown Field Municipal Airport. The crash killed everyone on board including the two pilots. McEntire was incredibly close to each member of her band, and considered them part of her family.
“By far this is my darkest hour, the most awful thing that ever happened in my life,” Reba told People Magazine just days after the crash. “When you have eight people that you absolutely love and their lives are just wiped out – it’s devastating.”
She often pays tribute to her friends on the anniversary of the plane crash. In 2015, she was actually in San Diego and took a helicopter to the plane crash site to pay her respects.
“I feel in my heart that they know we still miss them so much,” she wrote.
The following year after the crash, McEntire released an album titled For My Broken Heart and dedicated it to her friends who lost their lives. The album debuted at number one of the country albums chart, and reached number 13 on the Billboard 200.
This year, on the 28th anniversary of the crash, McEntire took to social media to pay her respects to her fallen bandmates.
“28 years ago today….If I had only known. Rest in peace my friends,” she captioned the photo of a Heavenly sky.
Even though all this time has passed, not a day goes by where she doesn’t miss them. Our hearts go out to McEntire and her band members’ families. Watch her heartbreaking interview about the crash in the video below.