Remembering “The Day the Music Died”

Posted on February 14, 2011 by


February 3rd will long be remembered as “The Day the Music Died.”

In 1959, a private plane took off from Clear Lake, Iowa, transporting Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, J.P. Richardson (known as “The Big Bopper”), and the pilot to Moorhead, Minnesota. These artists were made famous by some of the most well-known songs of that time. Buddy Holly had “That’ll be the day,” Ritchie Valens had “La Bamba,” and J.P Richardson  had “Chantilly Lace.”

The plane crashed near Clear Lake  in a winter snowstorm around 1:00 a.m. At the time, these artists were the deemed most promising rock and roll stars of the era.

Becca Weida, a sophomore at Fleetwood Area High School, said, “I am very sad that Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens could never produce more music.  I really liked what they created before the crash.”

Buddy Holly convinced the others to take a plane to their next destination because the tour bus was having heating problems. He also wanted to finish some laundry before the next show. Holly decided to find a plane for him and his band members.  Because Richardson was starting to develop the flu, he asked Waylon Jennings for his seat on the plane. Ritchie had never been on an airplane before, so he simply wanted a chance to have the experience. He asked Holly’s other band member for his seat on the plane.

Even though many people these days do not listen to music as old as Valens and Holly, a lot of students and teachers know the song “American Pie.” This song is a tribute to the three rock stars who died in that terrible plane crash.

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