With every paper I'd deliver,
Bad news on the doorstep
I couldn't take one more step.
I can't remember if I cried
When I read about his widowed bride
But something touched me deep inside,
The day the music died.
These are the lyrics from the song "American Pie" written in the late 1960s by singer-songwriter Don McLean. The said song was partly inspired by the death of rock and roll legend Buddy Holly who was killed in a 1959 plane crash.
"The Winter Dance Party Tour" was scheduled from January 23 to February 15, 1959 and was supposed to cover 24 cities across the United States. Top-billing the grueling 3-week tour was rock and roll pioneer Buddy Holly with backup musicians Tommy Allsup and Waylon Jennings. Also on the tour was the promising young performer Ritchie Valens, the DJ turned musician Jiles P. Richardson (known as "Big Bopper") and Dion and the Belmonts.
The heating problem on the tour bus they were riding caused Holly to arrange an alternate transport service for him and his bandmates. They chartered a single engine Beechcraft Bonanza that would be piloted by Roger Peterson. Supposedly, Holly, Jennings and Allsup would ride the plane. However, Jennings gave his seat to Richardson and Valens got the seat from Allsup after a toss-coin decision.
In the early hours of February 3, 1959, on a cold, winter day in Clear Lake, Iowa, a small plane headed for Fargo, North Dakota never reached its destination. The plane crashed, not far from the airport, killing Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, J.P. Richardson and the pilot; Roger Peterson. This day, which claimed the lives of three great performers, is now known as "the day the music died."
Other Music Greats Who Died in A Plane Crash