February 3, 1959

The Day the Music Died

Their last tour was the Winter Dance Party of 1959. The tour was scheduled to play in remote locations throughout the midwest United States, and that area was suffering a harsh winter.

Winter Dance Party Poster

The bus provided to the musicians had engine problems and no heating system. J.P. Richardson had caught the flu. When the tour rolled into the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake Iowa, Buddy Holly chartered a plane to fly his band to the next gig in Fargo ND. The Bopper approached Buddys bassist, Waylon Jennings, and asked Jennings for his seat on the plane, so that he could get some rest and a doctors appointment. Waylon agreed and gave his seat to the Bopper, a decision that saved his life, but killed the Bopper, Waylon would feel guilty for this for some time. Master of Ceremonies Bob Hale flipped the coin between Ritchie Valens and Tommy Allsup to see who would take the last seat. Ritchie Valens won the toss and lost his life. Tommy Allsup would later open up a club called the "The Heads up Saloon". The plane took off from Mason City Airport around one o'clock the morning of February 3rd, 1959, and crashed 8 miles after takeoff, Killing J.P., Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the pilot Roger Peterson. At the time of his death, Richardson was 28 years old, Buddy Holly was 22, and Ritchie Vallens was only 17. "If there's a Rock and Roll Heaven, then you know they got a hell of a Band"

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Until next time, May God Bless


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Vern and Irene


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