Some accidents are burned into memory even decades after they happened, the assassination of JFK, the Challenger explosion, 9/11/01 are all those type of events. For those who were alive February 3, 1959, the event that day is singed in memory and will always be known as “The Day The Music Died.”
Killed in an airplane crash that night were rock and roll icons Buddy Holly, 22, of Lubbock, Tex.; Ritchie Valens, 17, of Los Angeles; J.P. (Big Bopper) Richardson, 24, of Beaumont, Tex., also killed was the pilot, Roger Peterson, 21, of Clear Lake, Iowa. Three of Rock and Roll’s most promising performers were gone. The three were together on a concert tour. Buddy Holly was fed up with the chartered bus with its faulty heater, so before the performance he asked the tour manager Carroll Anderson about renting a chartered plane to fly him to his next destination in Moorhead, Minnesota. Anderson knew the owner of Dwyer Flying Service in nearby Mason City whom he contacted to arrange the flight. Anderson was not able to get hold of the owner so he called one of the pilots, Roger Peterson, who agreed to take Buddy plus two others to Moorhead. But the plane never made it home.
Ever since that horrible plane crash, February 3 has been known as “the day the music died.”
“The Winter Dance Party Tour” was planned to cover 24 cities in a short 3-week time frame (January 23 – February 15), they were traveling by bus. But, the tour bus developed heating problems. It was so cold on board that reportedly one of the drummers developed frostbite riding in it. When they arrived at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa, they were sick and tired of the cold bus. So Buddy Holly chartered a plane for himself and his guys, which turned out to be a tragic mistake. The press said the concert was magical as the fans went wild over the performers.
The plane took off a little after 1 A.M. from Clear Lake and never got far from the airport before it crashed, killing all onboard. According to reports, one wing hit the ground and the small plane corkscrewed over and over. The three young stars were thrown clear of the plane, leaving only pilot inside….