Do you remember what you were doing on this date in 1959? Some of you might and some of you, like me, were still soiling our diapers (OK, I was a late bloomer) and watching cartoons on our black and white television.
For those Baby Boomers that were born at the beginning of our generational cycle you were young teenagers and probably in shock over on of the greatest tragedies to ever occur in the world of Rock n' Roll.
This was "The Day The Music Died."
On February 3, 1959, budding Rock and Roll musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson were killed in a plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa. This tragedy (check out the video below) was memorialized in a hit song by singer/songwriter Don McLean called "American Pie".
During the winter of early 1959, Buddy Holly and his band, consisting of Waylon Jennings, Tommy Allsup and Carl Bunch, were playing to sold out houses on the "Winter Dance Party" tour across Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Rising artists Richie Valens and J.P. Richardson had joined the tour as well.
As the story goes, the long road trips between venues on board the freezing tour buses was taking it's toll on the performers, with cases of flu and even frostbite. After their show in Clear Lake, Buddy Holly fatefully decided to charter a small plane to travel to their next show in Moorhead, Minnesota. Richardson, who had bad flu, talked Waylon Jennings into giving up his seat. It is rumored that Tommy Allsup lost his seat to Ritchie Valens in a coin toss before take off
The Rock n' Roll heroes boarded the small Beechcraft Bonanza late that night and in miserable, dangerous weather conditions, the pilot lost control of the light aircraft and crashed into a cornfield killing all on board. A tragic story that resonates deeply in the hearts of Baby Boomer music lovers almost 60 years later.
Please take a few minutes to enjoy the story from Don McLean in the video below and try to imagine how the work of music would be today if only these talented musicians had lived full lives.
Peace be with you gentlemen !!