If you’ve lived in or visited Europe in the last fifteen years, you’ve heard the cheesy bubblegum sound of Eurodance. The beats, lyrics, and choruses are designed like a clever virus to rule dance floors and airwaves from Ibiza to Tromsø for a month or so—just long enough to record and release something new. Passion Fruit was one of these pop groups, and in ’99 it released “The Rigga-Ding-Dong-Song,” which charted Top 10 in fourteen countries. Internal tension split the group, but management decided to continue with a fresh crop.
Over the course of 2000 and 2001, Passion Fruit released a trio of high charting singles (all big in Germany of course) and the album Spanglish Love Affairs, but the Eurodance fairytale ended grimly on November 24, 2001.
After a performance in Berlin they boarded Crossair flight 3597 to Zurich. On its way to landing, the pilot descended below the minimum descent altitude and crashed into a hill, killing twenty-four of the thirty-three on board. Passion Fruit members Nathalie van het Ende and 27-year-old Maria Serrano-Serrano were among the victims, while Debby St. Marteen survived.
Proceeds from Passion Fruit’s posthumous single, “I’m Dreaming of…A Winter Wonderland” went to families of the crash victims.