Reba McEntire Tributes Band Members Who Died in Plane Crash: ‘If I Had Only Known’
Reba McEntire turned to social media on Saturday (March 16) to mark the 28th anniversary of the tragic deaths of several of her closest friends and colleagues. The country legend shared a photo of a sky filled with clouds with the words "If I Had Only Known" in remembrance of her band members who died in a plane crash.
"28 years ago today ... If I had only known. Rest in peace my friends," she writes.
McEntire and her band performed in San Diego on March 16, 1991, and after the show, they were slated to fly to Fort Wayne, Ind., where their next concert was scheduled. McEntire's band members and tour manager left that evening, while McEntire, her then-husband and manager Narvel Blackstock and her stylist decided to stay the night in San Diego.
There were two planes waiting to transport the entourage, and while the second aircraft took off and proceeded smoothly to its destination, the first plane that left the ground was struck with disaster just ten miles east of the airport from which it departed.
"The tip of the wing of the airplane hit a rock on the side of Otay Mountain, and it killed everyone on the plane," McEntire would recount in an emotional interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2012. “When we were notified, Narvel went and met with our pilot, and he told us what had happened. And Narvel came back to the hotel room where I was — it was two or three o’clock in the morning — and he said one of the planes had crashed, and I said, 'Are they OK?' He said, 'I don’t think so.' I said, 'But you’re not sure?' He said, 'I don’t think so.'"
They were frantic while waiting to get more details about the crash.
"Narvel was going room to room with a phone and calling ..." she said, then paused as tears sprang to her eyes. "I’m sorry — it’s been 20 years, but it’s just like — I don’t guess it ever quits hurting," McEntire said. "But I can see that room. I can see Narvel walking back and forth."
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McEntire dedicated her next album, For My Broken Heart, to those who had died, and it included a song titled "If I Had Only Known." Written by Jana Stanfield and Craig Morris, the song describes the remorse that accompanies loss.
"If I had only known / I'd never hear your voice again / I'd memorize each thing you ever said / And on those lonely nights / I could think of them once more / And keep your words alive inside my head / If I had only known / I'd never hear your voice again," McEntire sings in the chorus.
For My Broken Heart reached No. 1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart and went on to sell four million copies.
McEntire usually marks the anniversary of the tragic crash each year. She turned to Instagram in 2014 to mark the crash anniversary, and in 2016, on the 25th anniversary of the tragedy, she took a special trip to San Diego that she shared with fans via social media.
"Today is the 25th anniversary of the airplane crash," the country legend wrote. "I went back to San Diego Nov of last year and took a helicopter up to the crash site. I feel in my heart that they know we still miss them so much. My love and prayers to all the families and friends."
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