The following ten musicians left us with classic hits that are forever ingrained in our hearts and soul. Although many of us look upon these artists as legends whose work and iconic images will stand the test of time, few know of the tragic heartache they endured in life.
10 Frank Sinatra And Dean Martin
On January 6, 1977, Frank Sinatra took the stage at Caesars Palace with a gut-wrenching feeling, knowing that the two-engine Learjet carrying his mother had yet to arrive as scheduled in Las Vegas.
The plane had taken off in adverse weather conditions from Palm Springs and quietly disappeared from the radar screen three minutes later. Three days later, the remains of Natalie “Dolly” Sinatra and three others were recovered from the wreckage in the snow-covered San Gorgonio Mountains.
In March 1987, Captain Dean Paul Martin, the 35-year-old son of singer Dean Martin, was at the controls of an F-4C Phantom jet during a routine training mission when he also vanished from the radar screen 10 minutes after takeoff. His body was later recovered after his jet also inexplicably crashed on the San Gorgonio.
Following his son’s death, singer Dean Martin became a recluse and an alcoholic. He died on Christmas Day 1995.
9 Al Green
Renowned soul singer Al Green shot to fame with classic hits such as “Let’s Stay Together.” By 1974, he was at the height of his career with seven critically acclaimed and commercially successful albums.
That all changed on October 18, 1974, when Green’s former girlfriend broke into his Memphis home, startling Green as he took a bath. Mary Woodson poured scalding-hot grits all over Green’s bare back, causing third-degree burns. Afterward, she retreated to Green’s bedroom, retrieved a pistol, and committed suicide.
Following months of hospitalization, Green decided to leave the music industry and devote himself to his faith. He bought a church, the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Memphis, and began leading sermons. He became an ordained Baptist minister and now focuses his music on inspirational and spiritual tunes.
8 Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley, the “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” was born on January 8, 1935, in East Tupelo, Mississippi. His twin brother, Jesse, died in the womb.
As an only child, Elvis grew up blaming himself for his twin brother’s death. Throughout his career, Elvis often questioned whether he deserved his success. He would speak to Jesse as if he were alive, often visiting his brother’s grave until he had it permanently moved to Graceland.
According to clinical psychologist Mary Morgan, the loss of a twin is associated with greater grief than the loss of any other relative. Morgan also noted that these lone survivors are plagued with extreme loneliness, evident in Elvis to those who knew him.
Could this pain and guilt be the root of his downward spiral into the drugs and alcohol that ultimately claimed his life at age 42?
7 Sammy Davis Jr.
On November 19, 1954, Davis was driving from Las Vegas to his Los Angeles studio to record a sound track for the film Six Bridges to Cross when an automobile backed out in front of Davis’s Cadillac. During the head-on collision, Davis smashed his face on the steering wheel, causing massive injuries that included a broken nose and the loss of his left eye.
While recovering at a San Bernardino hospital, Davis questioned why he was fortunate enough to survive, often referring to the accident as a “miracle.” He also met a Jewish chaplain and began to take profound interest in Judaism.