- February 3 -

The Day the Music Died

The Day the Music Died, dubbed so by Don McLean's song 'American Pie', was an aviation accident that occurred on February 3, 1959, near Clear Lake, Iowa, killing rock and roll musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. 'The Big Bopper' Richardson, as well as the pilot, Roger...

The Day the Music Died

The Day the Music Died, dubbed so by Don McLean's song 'American Pie', was an aviation accident that occurred on February 3, 1959, near Clear Lake, Iowa, killing rock and roll musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. 'The Big Bopper' Richardson, as well as the pilot, Roger Peterson.

After terminating his partnership with The Crickets, Buddy Holly assembled a new band consisting of Waylon Jennings, Tommy Allsup, and Carl Bunch to play on the Winter Dance Party tour. The tour also featured rising artist Ritchie Valens and Big Bopper Richardson, who were promoting their own recordings as well. The tour was to cover twenty-four Midwestern cities in three weeks. The distance between venues, and the conditions prevalent aboard the poorly equipped buses employed, adversely affected the performers and their bands. Cases of flu spread among the band members, and Holly's drummer was hospitalized due to frostbite. Frustrated by the conditions, Holly decided to charter a plane when they stopped for their performance in the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa to reach their next venue in Moorhead, Minnesota. Carroll Anderson, owner of the Surf Ballroom, chartered the plane from the Dwyer Flying Service.

Richardson, who was affected by the flu, swapped places with Waylon Jennings, taking the latter's place on the plane, while Tommy Allsup lost his place to Ritchie Valens on a coin toss. Meanwhile, Dion DiMucci (of Dion and the Belmonts fame) decided not to board the plane for the US$36 fee. The investigation of the incident determined that soon after takeoff, a combination of poor weather conditions and pilot error caused spatial disorientation that made pilot Roger Peterson lose control of the plane. Hubert Dwyer, owner of the flight service company, could not establish radio contact and reported the aircraft missing the next morning. He took off in his own Cessna 180 and spotted the wreckage less than 6 miles (9.7 km) northwest of the airport in a cornfield belonging to Albert Juhl. He notified the authorities who dispatched Deputy Bill McGill, who drove to the wreck site and found the bodies of the passengers and pilot. They were later identified by Carroll Anderson.
Source:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Day_the_Music_Died

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