The Day The Music Died
The music world mourned. Don McLean wrote a song about it, "American Pie". The Day The Music Died. February 3, 1959 rock and roll stars Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and "The Big Bopper" (J. P. Richardson) were tragically killed in a plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa. The planes pilot, Roger Peterson, was also killed in the crash.
While on tour across the Midwest, Holly and his band, consisting of Tommy Allsup, Carl Bunch and Waylon Jennings, performed at a Clear Lake venue along with Valens and Richardson. Traveling on a cold tour bus lead to many of the performers suffering from frostbite, colds and flu. After their Clear Lake performance, Buddy Holly hired a plane to take them to their next gig in Moorhead, Minnesota. Richardson traded places with Waylon Jennings and took Jennings' seat on the plane, Jennings staying behind. Valens won his plane seat in a coin toss. The plane took off at night in extremely snowy conditions. Shortly after take off, the pilot lost control of the aircraft and crashed into a cornfield. No survivors. Ritchie Valens died at the age of 17; the Big Bopper aged 28; and Buddy Holly 22.