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Friday, February 3, 2017

The Day The Music Died

Life is so very short and sometimes it is taken away in the blink of an eye. This happened in my life time as I have watched car accidents and other ways that those I love leave suddenly. Perhaps the day the music died was a way that so many felt that pain. It makes us all sad.

Elvis, Morrison, Janis, Jimi, Lennon and Cobain were all great legends that left suddenly. The deaths changed music and left a scar on generations. I can remember my mother standing in the living room the day the news announced that Elvis had passed. These great legends all died on different days but when the three music stars died at one time it is even harder.

February 3, 1959 is the date that of "The Day The Music Died" Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson were the men that would spend their last night together on a Midwestern tour billed as "The Winter Dance Party". It was winter which meant it was cold and it was in the Midwest which meant it was really cold. The distance between the venues was almost to far making it hard for the men to drive to locations. The tour bus had broken heater which was making them all sick.

The night before the fatal day the tour had stopped in Clear Lake Iowa. This was a stop that had been booked at last minute to fill an empty date on the tour schedule. The next stop would be at Moorhead Minnesota. Because of this and the other problems on the tour it was Holly who decided to charter a plane to the next stop. An inexperienced pilot would pick up the group after the performance

The small plane could seat 3 in addition to the pilot. The charge was $36. The Big Bopper who was sick asked Holly's guitarist none other than Waylon Jennings if he could have his seat on the plane. Jennings with a southern personality had no problem in letting the ailing singer have his seat on the plane. Jennings would retain a haunting moment as the last joke he said to Holly was "I hope your ol plane crashes."

Seventeen year old Ritchie Valens had not experienced flying in a small plane and requested from Holly's other band mate Tommy Allsup if he could have his seat. They decided to flip a coin and Valens won or did he. Holly, Valens and the Big Bopper would all fly in the taxi with the young pilot Peterson. They would leave at 12:55 a.m. and a few moments later would fall from the sky. The Airport in Fargo North Dakota could not reach the young pilot and reported the aircraft missing. The plane had went down in a cornfield 5 minutes from the airport. The small plane had hit the ground at 170 mph and rolled over several times. The plane would end a ball of wreckage after sliding through the ground and being stopped at a wire fence. Both the bodies of Holly and Valens were found easily on the outside of the plane, Richardson had been thrown over the fence and the pilot was still in the plane. All 4 had been killed instantly.

Who was to blame?? The promoter who had pushed the tour too hard?? The pilot who did not have the experience needed to fly?? The owner of the plane who knew the pilot was still a student?? It really does not matter who should hold the blame for it is three young musicians of Holly, Valens and The Big Bopper who are not here to share their wonderful talent. 

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