On this day in 1964, Jim Reeves and Dean Manuel’s bodies were found in the wreckage of an aircraft and, at 1:00 p.m. local time, radio stations across the United States formally announced Reeves’ death. The single-engine Beechcraft Debonair aircraft, with Reeves at the controls, had crashed 42 hours earlier during a thunderstorm. Thousands of people traveled to pay their last respects at his funeral two days later. Reeves’ coffin, draped in flowers from fans, was driven through the streets of Nashville and then to Reeves’ final resting place near Carthage, Texas.
Reeves was perhaps one of the biggest male stars to emerge from the Nashville sound. His mellow baritone voice and muted velvet orchestration combined to create a sound that echoed around his world and has lasted to this day. Critics often called his sound “country-pop” and plain pop.