The Day The Music Died: 60 Years Ago 2/3/59
It was a snowy evening, February 3rd, 1959, when the Beachcraft Bonanza took-off from the Mason City Municipal Airport in Mason City, Iowa. On board were three rock n' rollers who were destined to become legends, following the evening’s events.
Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson had boarded the plane following an appearance at the Surf Ballroom in Clearlake, Iowa, during the Winter Dance Tour.
The tour had become plagued with illness and even frostbite, due to the winter conditions during the long cold tour bus rides. Holly chose to charter a private plane to the next gig in Moorhead, Minnesota. Waylon Jennings, a member of Holly’s backing band “The Crickets”, gave his seat to "The Big Bopper" who was suffering from the flu. Tommy Allsup, another band member, lost his seat in a coin toss with Richie Valens.
As the plane was buffeted by winter storms, the pilot became disorientated, losing control of the plane and crashing into a rural cornfield, killing all aboard. Fans were shocked by a photo of the crashed plane with bystanders standing near the craft, the body of "The Big Bopper" in the background.
In 1971 Don McLean wrote “American Pie”, as a tribute to the loss of Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and “The Big Bopper” Richardson. As a result, the tragic event became known as "The Day the Music Died".
However, the first tribute ever recorded was “Three Stars”, written and performed by Tommy Dee with backing vocals by Carol Kay. It was first released on April 5, 1959, selling over one-million copies and winning a gold disc.
With the marvel of YouTube, you can now relive history by listening to this great recording of the tune.