On this day in music history: December 31, 198…

On this day in music history: December 31, 1985 – Rock & Roll legend Rick Nelson and six others die in a plane crash near DeKalb, TX at 5:14 pm CST. Nelson and his band are on a brief three city tour playing shows in Orlando, FL and Guntersville, AL before heading to Dallas, TX to play a New Years Eve show. Flying aboard a charted vintage Douglas DC-3 airplane, the aircraft had a history of mechanical problems prior to the crash. When flying from Alabama to Texas, it is believed that a gas heater aboard the plane starts a fire in the cabin during the flight. According to accounts from the pilot and co-pilot (who both survived the crash), the cabin became engulfed with smoke. While attempting to make an emergency landing, the plane impacts several trees, crash landing two miles from the air strip in DeKalb. Killed in the crash are Nelson, his girlfriend Helen Blair, road manager and soundman Donald Clark Russell, and band members Patrick Woodward, Rick Intveld, Andy Chapin and Bobby Neal. Following the accident, rumors circulate that the fire is caused by members of the entourage freebasing cocaine, but this proved to be false. Nelson’s remains are lost in transit when being shipped back to his family in California. A funeral service for friends and family is held at Church Of The Hills on January 6, 1986, and is finally laid to rest privately a few days later at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills Cemetary in Los Angeles, CA. Rick Nelson is inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame posthumously in 1987.