A large large steel pair of horn-rim glasses, similar
to those Buddy Holly wore, sits near the crash site
It was fifty-four years ago today that, as Don McLean wrote in "American Pie," the music died.
A small airplane crash February 3, 1959, near Clear Lake, Iowa, killed rock musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, J. P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson, and the pilot Roger Peterson.
Richardson, Holly, Valens
Buddy Holly had parted ways with the original Crickets by this time, and put together a new band with Waylon Jennings, Tommy Allsup, and Carl Bunch, for a '"Winter Dance Party" tour. The tour included Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper Richardson, who were promoting their own albums.
The tour had been on tour buses, but the cold weather, long distances, and conditions aboard the ratty tour buses, began wearing down the musicians. The bands were passing a raging 'flu virus back and forth, and Holly's drummer was hospitalized for frostbite. Buddy Holly decided to charter a plane in Clear Lake, Iowa, to reach their next venue in Moorhead, Minnesota (near Fargo). Waylon Jennings was bumped from the plane in favor of someone who was suffering from the flu (well, I guess that cured the flu). Tommy Allsup flipped a coin with Ritchie Valens to see who got a seat. Valens "won." Another survivor, Dion DiMucci (Dion and the Belmonts) didn't want to spend the $36.