None can argue against the wide influence of Jim Reeves’ music that conquered Nashville from 1955 through 1969. His harmonious combination of muted velvet orchestration and a mellow baritone voice echoed on the radios, most specifically on country airplay. He is one of the biggest male stars that emerged in his genre, making him the country music’s foremost international ambassador. He rocked the charts not just in America but also in Europe and Great Britain. Today, we remember that most unfortunate day Reeves’ plane crashed when they encountered a violent storm.
Reeve’s Last Flight
It was Friday, July 31, 1964, Jim Reeves and his business partner and manager Dean Manuel was flying on their way to Nashville. They were riding on a single-engine aircraft, and the country singer is at the controls. The two came from Batesville, Arkansas, where they secured a deal on some real estate.
When they were flying over Brentwood, Tennessee, they were caught in a violent storm. It was an unexpected incident that caused Reeves to suffer from spatial disorientation, which is the pilot’s inability to determine his body position in space.
According to forensic evidence, Reeves relied on his instincts more than his training during the thunderstorm encounter. He turned left attempting to follow Franklin Road. This caused them to fly further into the rain. Having been too focused on establishing his ground references, Reeves let his airspeed got too low and stalled the aircraft.
One of the Saddest Events that Ever Happened
Such a sad day when the word spread on this day in '64, of the passing of country music's, Jim Reeves, along with his pianist, Dean Manuel. Enjoy this song written by Reeves and Manuel, originally released in '68, after their deaths. #gentlemanjim #RIPhttps://t.co/Yftbnv9IK4 pic.twitter.com/VbMjYI2ikV— Bluegrass Jamboree (@BGJamboree) July 31, 2018
Official investigation recorded that Reeves ran into the heavy rain at 4:52 p.m. and crashed only a minute later. The wreckage was found 42 hours later. The plane’s parts were buried in the ground due to the crash’s impact. Reeves and Dean Manuel’s bodies were found on the morning of August 2, after an intense search. Ernest Tubb and Marty Robbins were among those who joined the search operation. After their death was formally announced in public, thousands of supporters traveled to pay their last respects at the country star’s funeral.
Posthumous Awards and Releases
Officially listed Jim Reeves as a member in 1967. They described his music as an international influence that will forever mark on the music world. Moreover, he was inducted into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame in 1998.
Reeve’s records continued to sell even after his death. His widow, Mary, released albums of his unreleased tracks combined with previously released singles. She also ran the Jim Reeves Museum in Nashville that operated from the mid-1970s until 1996.
Indeed, Reeves may have met an untimely death, but his music remains alive in the hearts of country music supporters.